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Executive Directors Blog

ACCET 2021 Conference and Annual Business Meeting Update

After nearly two years of being apart due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ACCET’s 2021 annual conference and annual business meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada was a huge success! It was a welcomed time to come together as a community as we move “Together Towards Tomorrow.”

This year ACCET staff welcomed 223 participants and 58 exhibitors to the annual conference. A special thanks goes to Sandy Lockwood and Darlene Foret for their hard work in making the conference so successful. Additionally, I would like to express my gratitude to ACCET Commissioners, speakers, and staff for their incredible contributions to the success of the conference.

During the business meeting, Dr. Brad Bouté was elected for his first term as an ACCET Institutional Commissioner after completing an appointed partial term. Additionally, Ms. Megan Kobzej and Ms. Haviva Parnes were elected by the members to second terms as ACCET Institutional Commissioners. The Commission confirmed additional terms of service for Ms. Terry O’Donnell, Ms. Sophia Perkovich, and Dr. Timothy Mott as ACCET Public Commissioners, and the terms for ACCET Institutional Commissioners Dr. Donnell Bayot and Ms. Yadexy Sierra were extended for one additional year. Finally, the membership voted to approve several revisions and changes to the ACCET Standards of Accreditation. Additional updates regarding these revisions will be provided in the near future. The revised standards will go into effect in the December 2023 visit cycle.

The closing session of the conference included presentations from the Thomas R. Tillia Community Service award finalists: Asher College, InterCoast Colleges, and Approach International Student Center. The winner of the 2021 Thomas R. Tillia Community Service Award was Approach International Student Center. Congratulations to the management, faculty, and staff of Approach!

In addition to the award announcement, ACCET’s Training and Development Manager and newest staff member, Michael Oswald, announced several new training initiatives to improve training for members, volunteers, and staff. These initiatives include a partnership with MaxKnowledge-powered Online Training Center to bring training and development opportunities to institutions in a variety of areas, such as: admissions, career services, compliance, financial aid, and student retention.

Michael also announced the addition of an eLearning course development software and a learning management system to ACCET operations. The Articulate eLearning authoring software coupled with the TalentLMS learning Management system gives ACCET opportunities to onboard, train, and develop ACCET staff and volunteers. Additionally, the Commission will have the ability to develop specialized trainings for member institutions. We are excited to share these opportunities for training and development with the membership.

Finally, ACCET’s Commission Chair, Yadexy Sierra, announced that Christopher Lambert has resigned his position as ACCET Executive Director for personal reasons. We thank Mr. Lambert for his contributions to the agency and wish him well in the future. A search committee has been formed to identify a new Executive Director. In the meantime, please direct any questions to me at Kate@accet.org, or our Chief of Staff, Corey Rosso at Corey@accet.org.

Best Regards,

Kate Zulaski
Deputy Executive Director

Temporary Flexibilities FAQ

RE: ACCET Guidance – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Regarding the COVID-19 Temporary Flexibilities

On September 28, 2021, the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) announced that it had recently reviewed the continuing and emerging challenges of COVID-19 and made a decision to revisit the guidance issued following the December 2020 and April 2021 Commission meetings. Upon additional consideration of the emerging challenges and significant impact of COVID-19, the Accrediting Commission voted to keep the temporary flexibilities that have previously been issued in place until such time as they are affirmatively rescinded but no later than 180 days following the date on which the COVID-19 national emergency declaration is rescinded.

ACCET felt that a running FAQ may help provide collective clarity to membership institutions for common questions.  Below are the questions most asked related to the most recent guidance provided regarding the temporary flexibilities.

Click here to download or view the PDF document containing the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

ACCET Names Corey Rosso Chief of Staff

The Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training (ACCET) is pleased to announce that Corey Rosso will be joining the agency as Chief of Staff. 

In this capacity, Corey will be responsible for providing analysis, coordination, and supervision of all aspects of the organization to facilitate the systematic and effective operation of the accreditation process.  

Click Here to Download the Press Release 

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: