U.S.Department of Education Staff Report
Senior Department Official on Recognition Compliance Issues
The Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools (MS-CSS) is one of three Commissions of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Primarily an accreditor of secondary education institutions, the agency also accredits postsecondary, non-degree granting vocational institutions. These postsecondary education institutions provide training in vocational/technical careers within certificated and licensed professions such as automotive technology, computer networking, cosmetology and practical nursing.
The agency’s current scope of recognition is for the accreditation of institutions with postsecondary, non-degree granting career and technology programs in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, including those that offer all or part of their educational programs via distance education modalities.
The agency’s federal link is the Higher Education Act, Title IV federal student aid program. Therefore, the agency must meet the Secretary’s separate and independent requirements.
Currently, the agency accredits fifteen postsecondary non-degree-granting institutions that use its accreditation to establish eligibility for Title IV federal student aid programs.
The Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools was established in 1920. It was first recognized by the Secretary for the accreditation of public vocational-technical schools offering non-degree postsecondary education in 1988 and remained a recognized agency until July 1999 when it requested that its recognition be withdrawn.
The agency submitted a petition again for initial recognition in December 2003, and in 2004 the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity recommended and the Secretary concurred that the agency be recognized for a two-year period but required it to submit an interim report at its Fall 2006 meeting demonstrating compliance with the issues identified in the staff analysis.
In December 2006, The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity reviewed and recommended that the Secretary accept the agency's report.
The agency submitted a petition again for continued recognition in June 2012 and the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity recommended and the Secretary concurred that the agency's recognition continue and that it demonstrate compliance with a number of the Secretary's Criteria for Recognition. The issues fell primarily in the areas of required standards and their application, and required operating policies and procedures. Most of the citations in these areas are due to the lack of documentation demonstrating the application of specific policies or procedures, which is necessary for compliance, and the agency's amendments or revisions tomits policies and procedures to meet the requirements resulting from the HEA amendments in 2010.
At its June 2014 meeting, The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity reviewed and recommended that the Secretary accept the agency's report.
The agency's petition for continued recognition is the subject of this analysis and report..
The agency meets the requirements of the Secretary's Criteria for Recognition.
Staff Analysis of 3rd Party Written Comments
The Flores' comments are directed to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), and do not pertain to the Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools (MSCSS)