After reviewing the program’s Benchmark I document, the Benchmark I Review Brief submitted by the commissioner making Commission Visit I (including the commissioner’s recommendation), and the program’s response to the Benchmark I Review Brief, the COA makes one of three decisions:
- Grant Candidacy Status. The COA finds that the program is in compliance with Benchmark I and grants the program candidacy status. The decision letter instructs the program to prepare Benchmark II in preparation for its Commissioner Visit II. A commissioner will contact the program to arrange the visit.
- Defer a Decision on Candidacy Status to the Next Meeting and Request Clarifying Information. The COA decides to defer a decision when the program’s documentation is insufficient to make a decision. A deferral is for one meeting only. Before the next commission meeting the program is expected to submit the documentation or clarification necessary for the COA to make a decision. In extenuating circumstances, and at the COA's discretion, the COA may grant two deferrals at each Benchmark phase.
- Deny Candidacy Status. A program is denied candidacy if the COA finds the program’s Benchmark I document to be inadequate. The program has two options in response to the decision: (1) to accept the decision and apply for candidacy by submitting a Benchmark I document or (2) to appeal by requesting a reconsideration of the decision. The program must notify their accreditation specialist or associate in writing which option it intends to pursue. If the program accepts the decision it may submit a Benchmark I document and apply for candidacy status no earlier than the second COA meeting following the one at which the COA made its decision.