About ACCET

ACCET was founded in 1974 for the purpose of improving continuing education and training and has been officially recognized by the U.S. Department of Education since 1978 as a “reliable authority” as to the quality of education and training provided by the institutions we accredit. Accreditation serves the interests of companies, agencies, and the public through the establishment of standards, policies, and procedures in conjunction with an objective third-party professional evaluation designed to identify and inspire sound education and training practices. When such a process is matched by an institution’s commitment to high standards and accountability, a partnership for quality becomes reality.

Executive Director's Blog

Updated ACCET Guidance – COVID-19 Temporary Flexibilities

ACCET is continuing to closely monitor the situation regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and provide our member institutions additional guidance as it becomes available.  At its April 2021 meeting, the ACCET Commission approved an extension of temporary flexibilities until September 30, 2021 for ACCET institutions in response to COVID-19, as permitted by the U.S. Department of Education and published in the Federal Register (Vol. 85, No. 239) on December 11, 2020. 

Temporary Flexibilities: ACCET guidance provides certain flexibilities for institutions that are working to help students complete the term in which they are currently enrolled and identifies options available to institutions so that they can continue to serve current students during the coronavirus emergency (the payment periods that begin on or between March 5, 2020 – September 30, 2021, including:

  • Temporary closure.
  • Temporary distance learning (IDL) delivery.
  • Change in student enrollment status (e.g. full-time to part-time status) (This option is not available to IEPs).
  • Consortium agreements (This option is not available to IEPs).
  • Temporary change of location (This option is only available to IEPs).

NOTE: The temporary flexibilities authorized to ACCET institutions during the COVID-19 threat are finite. Currently, institutions are permitted (without program approval) to temporarily offer distance learning (IDL) to new students through September 30, 2021, with the following exception. The Student Exchange Visitors Program (SEVP) does not permit the enrollment of new F and M students.

  • Externships: Institutions will be permitted the temporary flexibility of offering students whose scheduled internship/externship is disrupted during the period of March 5, 2020 – September 30, 2021 due to the COVID-19 emergency their (each student’s) choice to either:
  1. complete a rescheduled externship/internship, which may require the student to take a leave of absence; or
  2. complete, in lieu of internship/externship, a capstone course comparable in length (clock hours or credit hours) to the internship/externship, unless prohibited by any applicable licensing boards and/or other approval or certifying authorities.
  • Labs: Institutions will be permitted the temporary flexibility of offering students whose scheduled labs are disrupted during the period of March 5, 2020 – September 30, 2021 due to the COVID-19 emergency their (each student’s) choice to either: 
  1. complete rescheduled labs, which may require students to take a leave of absence;
  2. complete simulated labs that: (a) provide synchronous (real time) sharing of hands-on practice using video conferencing, and (b) assess students’ skills based on observed levels of performance during lab time. Note that this option is not permissible if prohibited by any applicable licensing boards and/or other approval or certifying authorities; or
  3. Complete didactic classes comparable in length (clock hours or credit hours) to the labs missed due to COVID-19 on the condition that the institutions schedule make-up labs in the future to provide students the opportunity to subsequently complete labs necessary for students to develop and practice their hands-on skills. Note that this option is not permissible if prohibited by any applicable licensing boards and/or other approval or certifying authorities.
  • Verification of High School (or Equivalent) Completion Status: Where an institution is unable to obtain documentation of an applicant’s high school completion or equivalency, an institution will be permitted the temporary flexibility to accept a signed and dated attestation from an applicant attesting to his or her high school completion and approximate date of completion in lieu of the applicant’s official high school diploma, official transcript, or high school equivalency certificate during the COVID-19 emergency period through September 30, 2021. Note that this temporary flexibility is not permissible if prohibited by any applicable state and/or other approval or certifying authorities.
  • Leaves of Absence (LOA): Institutions will be permitted the following temporary flexibilities from March 27, 2020 – September 30, 2021 relative to leaves of absence, including:
  1. Waiving the requirement that: (a) the institution must approve a written and signed leave of absence request by the student prior to the leave of absence and (b) the student returning from a leave of absence (LOA) must resume at the same point in his/her program that the student began the LOA.
  2. Establishing, even on a temporary basis, a formal written leave of absence policy consistent with any state, federal, and accreditation requirements, if the institution previously did not have a formal written policy.
  • Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP): Institutions will be permitted the following temporary flexibilities from March 27, 2020 – September 30, 2021 relative to satisfactory academic progress (SAP):
  1. An institution may exclude from the quantitative component (pace measurement) of satisfactory academic progress (SAP) attempted credits/hours a student was unable to complete as a result of the COVID-19 national emergency.
  2. It is not necessary for a student to have filed a SAP appeal for an institution to exercise the flexibility identified in item #1. However, to exclude attempted credits/hours from SAP, an institution must have reasonably determined that the student’s failure to complete those credits/hours was the result of a COVID-19 related circumstance.  Allowable circumstances include, but are not limited to, (a) illness of the student or family member, (b) need to become a caregiver or first responder, (c) economic hardship, (d) added work hours, (e) loss of childcare, (f) inability to continue with classes via distance education, (g) inability to access wi-fi due to closed facilities. If an institution temporarily ceases operations during a period of enrollment, attempted credits for all affected students (specific to that enrollment period) may be excluded.
  • Completion and Placement Statistics:
  1. Institutions are expected to report 2020 completion and placement data during the COVID-19 emergency. The U.S. Department of Education defines the emergency period as continuing for “the duration of the national emergency declaration,” unless otherwise specified.
  2. Institutions must continue to document their completion and placement processes and provide student services, consistent with policies and procedures of ACCET, the institution, and any pertinent regulatory bodies.
  3. Institutions will be evaluated for completion and placement data reported for calendar year 2019 (January 1 – December 31, 2019). In addition, institutions will be evaluated for placement verification documentation for sample cohorts for calendar years 2019 and 2020.

Completion Flexibility for Calendar Year 2020 and 2021 Year-to-Date (January 1 – March 31, 2021):  For the Calendar Year 2020 and 2021 Year-to-Date (January 1 – March 31, 2021), the Commission will consider completion waivers for students who are unable to complete their program due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Allowable circumstances, include, but are not limited to:

  • Illness of the student or family member;
  • Need to become a caregiver or first responder;
  • Economic hardship;
  • Added work hours;
  • Homeschooling or child/dependent care issues; or
  • Inability to continue with classes via distance education; and
  • Inability to access wi-fi due to closed facilities.

COVID-19 waivers must be documented including the student’s signature, date, and notification of a specific reason.  Waivers that bring the percentage above 10% will result in adjusted waiver and completion rates and will be reviewed by the Commission.

Placement Flexibility for Calendar 2020 and 2021 Year-to-Date (January 1 – March 31, 2021):  For the Calendar Year 2020 and 2021 Year-to-Date (January 1 – March 31, 2021), the Commission will consider placement waivers for students who are waiving placement assistance due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Allowable circumstances include, but are not limited to:

  • Illness of the student or family member;
  • Need to become a caregiver or first responder;
  • Economic hardship;
  • Added work hours;
  • Homeschooling or child/dependent care issues; or
  • Inability to continue with classes via distance education; and
  • Inability to access wi-fi due to closed facilities.

COVID-19 Waivers must be documented, including the student’s signature, date, and notification of a specific reason.  Waivers that bring the percentage above 15% will result in adjusted waiver and completion rates and will be reviewed by the Commission.

Depending on the duration and severity of COVID-19, the Commission may decide, in future, to review its completion and placement policy such as completion/placement waivers and/or benchmarks.

ACCET will continue to provide information to ACCET institutions as warranted. Institutions are also advised to frequently check the websites of the U.S. Department of Education (ED), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and other authorities for updated information, including:

 

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