After reviewing the program’s Initial Accreditation Self-Study and the Initial Accreditation Review Brief submitted by the commissioner who conducted Commission Visit III (including the commissioner’s recommendation) and the program’s response to the Initial Accreditation Review Brief, the COA makes one of six decisions:

  1. Grant Initial Accreditation for 8 Years. The COA finds the program in compliance with all accreditation standards and educational policy and grants accreditation for 8 years.
  2. Grant Initial Accreditation for 8 Years with a Progress Report to be Reviewed by the Program’s Accreditation Specialist. The COA finds the program in compliance with all educational policy and accreditation standards, but identifies one or more areas of concern that must be addressed in a progress report that the program’s accreditation specialist will review. The COA’s letter identifies specific areas of concern and a due date for the progress report.
  3. Grant Initial Accreditation for 8 Years with a Progress Report to be Reviewed by the COA. The COA finds the program in compliance with all educational policy and accreditation standards, but identifies one or more areas of concern that must be addressed in a progress report that the COA will review. The COA’s letter identifies specific areas of concern and a due date for the progress report.
  4. Defer a Decision on Initial Accreditation 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.
  5. Order an Additional Year of Candidacy. The COA finds that the program’s Initial Accreditation Self-Study needs further development and needs an additional year. The program should revise its Initial Accreditation Self-Study for an additional commissioner visit.
  6. Deny Initial Accreditation. The COA determines that the program is out of compliance with one or more educational policies and/or accreditation standards. The COA’s letter identifies specific areas of noncompliance. The program has two options in response to the decision: (1) accept the decision and apply for candidacy by submitting a Benchmark I document or (2) to appeal by requesting a reconsideration of the decision. 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.