March 2020

ACCET Guidance Relative to Coronavirus Threat (Updated July 24, 2020)

ACCET is closely monitoring the situation regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and will provide our member institutions with guidance as it becomes available. Public health and public safety are foremost during this uncertain and ever-changing coronavirus threat.

On July 24, 2020, ACCET held a Virtual Visit Orientation (via Zoom) for all institutions with virtual visits scheduled in the December 2020 review cycle. This orientation addressed the essentials of the virtual visit, including the visit schedule and logistics of remotely sharing documents and conducting classroom observations and interviews at a distance. Resources from this Virtual Visit Orientation are linked below:

ACCET guidance provides certain flexibilities for member institutions that are working to help students complete the terms in which they are currently enrolled and identifies options available to institutions so that they can continue to serve students during the coronavirus threat. ACCET guidance identifies the terms and conditions for exercising these options consistent with the requirements of ACCET and, if applicable, the U.S. Department of Education and the Student Exchange Visitors Program (SEVP). These temporary flexibilities include:

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

On May 21, 2020, the ACCET Commission convened and approved: (1) additional temporary flexibilities and (2) extensions to previously approved flexibilities for ACCET institutions during the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency. The attached ACCET notice “Further ACCET Guidance – COVID-19 Additional Temporary Flexibilities” (dated May 21, 2020) to member institutions identifies approved temporary flexibilities in response to COVID-19, with additional temporary flexibilities approved by the Commission on May 21, 2020 in italics, including:

  • The extension of the COVID-19 emergency period to December 31, 2020.
  • The postponement of the 2019 submission deadline for annual financial statements.
  • Temporary flexibilities for the verification of high school completion or its equivalency.
  • Temporary flexibilities for leaves of absence (LOA) and satisfactory academic progress (SAP).
  • The extension of the IDL program application submission deadline (until August 31, 2020) to be eligible for the streamlined IDL program application process for institutions seeking approval to offer IDL instruction after the COVID-19 emergency.
  • Virtual visits to be conducted in the December 2020 review cycle in September– November 2020.

These ACCET approved temporary flexibilities align with “Guidance for Interruptions of Study Related to Coronavirus (COVID-19)” issued by the U.S. Department of Education on May 15, 2020.

ACCET’s guidance (dated May 21, 2020) supplements previous March and April 2020 notices tailored to each type of ACCET-accredited institution, including notices dated March 9, March 10, April 6, and April 16, 2020, as provided below:

Additionally, ACCET hosted a series of free 90-minute Webinars on Interactive Distance Learning (IDL), that began with an introductory “Back-to-Basics” webinar held on March 20, 2020. Additional IDL webinars were scheduled in April and May 2020 for institutions offering IDL programs during the COVID-19 emergency. ACCET staff conducted free webinars on IDL best practices and the IDL program approval process to member institutions. Resources and videos of the previous IDL webinar are provided below:

Vocational Institutions:

  • IDL Webinar #1 – Town Hall (April 13, 2020)

Avocational Institutions, including Institutions Offering Intensive English Programs (IEPs):

  • Interactive Distance Learning (IDL) Webinar (April 13, 2020)

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:

March 2020

There is much to report following ACCET’s recent renewal of recognition by the U.S. Department of Education for the maximum five-year period, effective October 23, 2019.  Some exciting initiatives that ACCET is pursuing to provide additional services to our member institutions include:

An Expansion of Scope to Accredit Applied Bachelor’s Degree Programs
: To provide additional opportunities for ACCET institutions and their students, ACCET will be applying to the U.S. Department of Education to expand its scope to accredit applied bachelor’s degree programs. ACCET has initiated a pilot to begin accrediting applied bachelor’s degree programs and is currently working with three institutions that will be applying for accreditation of their BA programs. Other institutions are invited to contact ACCET if they are interested in being considered for the pilot.

A Competency-Based Education Task Force: To provide innovative and alternative learning modalities to ACCET institutions and their students, ACCET is establishing a Competency-Based Education Task Force to develop a template with ACCET standards (Specific Field Criteria) for competency-based education (CBE).  This CBE template will be modeled after those established by ACCET for Interactive Distance Learning (IDL) and E-learning.

Online Training Modules: To provide real-time training to member institutions, ACCET will be developing online training modules. By Spring 2020, ACCET’s website will include online “back-to-basics” training modules on: (1) planning, (2) instructional delivery, and (3) satisfactory progress for Intensive English Programs (IEP). Please contact ACCET to suggest other training modules of value to the membership.

Growing the Membership: ACCET congratulates the following institutions on the award of ACCET initial accreditation in 2018 – 2019, reflecting the rich diversity of our expanding membership:

  • IATA Training Center
  • Institute for Business and Technology
  • Manhattan School of Computer Technology
  • Saudi Electric Services Polytechnic
  • Branford Hall Career Institute
  • Southern California Health Institute
  • Gradalis Waldorf Consulting Services
  • Harris School of Business
  • The Salter College
  • InterNACHI
  • Mariano Moreno Culinary Institute
  • Professional Golfers Career College
  • The Institute of Clinical Pastoral Training
  • Universal Training Institute
  • Yanbu Technical Institute (Saudi Arabia)
  • Continuing Education Center, American University of Beirut (Lebanon)
  • Institute of Banking Studies (Jordan)
  • Saudi Aramco Industrial Security Operations Academy
  • PACE International Academy
  • Saudi Aramco Manpower Development
  • American Flight Training
  • ARC Broward dba Arc Educates
  • Arkansas Fashion School
  • Pacific West Academy
  • Graduate School USA
  • Portland Fashion Institute

At its April 2020 meeting, the Commission will be considering initial accreditation for six additional institutions, including three vocational and three avocational.

Other ACCET News: At its April 2020 meeting, the Commission will welcome a new Institutional Commissioner, Dr. Brad Bouté, Dean of Student Services and Compliance at the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts.  Additionally, several new staff joined the ACCET team in the fall of 2019, including: Res Helfer as a Senior Accreditation Coordinator with responsibilities for the Financial Review Committee (FRC), Branching Review Committee (avocational institutions), and Complaints; Courtney Smith as an Accreditation Coordinator with responsibility for the Branching Review Committee (IEPs) and the review of reaccreditation applications; Kaitlyn Gough as an Administrative Assistant and Database Liaison; and Curtis Campbell as our new accounting staff.

U.S. Department of Education News:  We are pleased to report that new federal regulations (to become effective July 1, 2020) will eliminate any reference to “national” and “regional” accrediting agencies, with all such agencies simply designated as “institutional accreditors”.  This will be an important first step towards: (1) leveling the playing field for institutions accredited by ACCET and other former “national” accreditors and (2) eliminating artificial and unfair barriers to credit transfer for graduates of ACCET institutions.

Please remember to save the date for ACCET’s annual conference: November 11-13, 2020 at the Hyatt Regency in beautiful Lake Tahoe!

In closing, we at ACCET pledge our continued commitment to working with ACCET members to promote A Partnership for Quality®. We look forward to a productive and successful 2020!


Judy Hendrickson

Interim Executive Director