Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions, organized by category. Click the arrow to the left of a question to find a detailed answer to that question. If you do not see an answer to your question on this page, please email info@neche.org and a staff member will respond.

Accreditation and NECHE

Questions About Institutions and Programs

No. Colleges and universities differ so much from one another (with regard to mission, types of programs, students served) that they cannot be reliably ranked. Various commercial publications rank institutions on specific details (such as size, tuition, endowment, selectivity, faculty publications). These rankings may offer one source of information, but they do not contain all the information needed to determine institutional quality. Each student must determine whether an institution meets his or her needs.

NECHE accredits institutions, not programs. Therefore, if the institution is accredited by NECHE, then that status encompasses the entire institution. For information about whether the program has specialized (or programmatic) accreditation, consult the institution, the accreditor in that field, or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) website at www.chea.org.

Contact the registrar of your institution, who can validate its accreditation status and provide proof that you received your degree. 

The Commission does not release institutional reports or correspondence. Some institutions post their self-studies on their websites. If you have an interest in a particular institution’s self-study, you are encouraged to contact the president or chief executive officer of the institution.

No. Every institution retains the right to determine what credits and degrees it will accept. Transferability of credits depends on a number of factors, including accreditation, curriculum compatibility, and grades. Institutions are required under NECHE’s Standards to have clear transfer policies and to make those policies available to you. Consult the Policy on Transfer and Award of Academic Credit. If you have questions about whether your credits or degrees will be accepted, check with the Registrar or Admissions office of the school to which you intend to apply.

No. States and graduate schools set their own requirements for licensure or admission. The appropriate contact is the state board of education or graduate school admissions department.

The closing institution arranges with the state department of higher education or other appropriate agency to file all academic records as well as financial aid information. You should receive a notice from the college about arrangements made for filing student records. Begin further inquiries by contacting the higher education agency in the state where the institution was authorized to operate. If the college merges with another institution, that institution will receive the records. If you need further assistance, contact a member of the Commission staff.

There are several ways. During an institution’s comprehensive review, the Commission seeks written third-party comments. Visiting evaluation teams will also be available on campus to meet with students, faculty, or staff who have a concern about an institution. Consult the schedule of Upcoming Evaluations to see institutions undergoing comprehensive review.

At any time, you may contact the Commission in writing with a complaint that raises significant questions about institutional conditions that violate the Standards. The Commission does not adjudicate individual grievances. Persons wishing to lodge a complaint against a member institution should first consult the Commission’s Consideration of Complaints Against Affiliated Institutions for information about the procedure. Complaints should reference the Standards and be supported by evidence. For further guidance on filing a complaint, email info@neche.org.

The public is alerted to the serious risks of unaccredited institutions offering degrees of questionable merit, referred to as “degree mills.” Of equal concern are institutions claiming to hold accreditation from what may be dubious accreditors, referred to as “accreditation mills.”

FAQs About Complaints

Consider carefully what you hope to accomplish. The Commission’s complaint process is not designed to address individual problems or provide individualized resolutions.

Complaints will be considered by the Commission only if they focus on substantive institutional conditions that may indicate non-compliance with the Standards for Accreditation.

Some questions to ask to determine if your concern meets the Commission’s seven criteria for consideration:

  1. Does your complaint refer to current matters? Normally, the Commission does not consider matters that are alleged to have occurred more than three years prior to the filing of the complaint.
  2. Does your complaint refer to institutional conditions, not a personal grievance?
  3. Can you find language in the Standards for Accreditation related to your concern?
  4. Can you substantiate your complaint with evidence, not allegations?
  5. Have you tried to resolve the problem through the institution’s internal channels?
  6. Does your complaint refer to current or recent matters at the institution?
  7. Does your complaint include a summary of the resolutions you are seeking?

If you seek redress of a grievance, re-admission to a program, adjustment of a bill or grade, or action that would provide a personal remedy for your situation, the Commission’s complaint process is not for you. Instead, contact your institution’s ombudsperson or someone who can help you appeal an institutional decision. If you have already used your own institution’s internal process but have not received the outcome you wanted, you may wish to consider external structures such as a court of law, state or federal administrative agency such as the State’s Attorney General, the Better Business Bureau, or private mediation and dispute resolution. The Commission’s complaint procedure is not a substitute for these processes and provides no personal remedies.

The Commission is a private, membership organization that evaluates the quality of higher education institutions. It is not a governmental body, nor is it charged with enforcing public law. Complaints regarding alleged criminal conduct need to be reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency for investigation. Complaints about discrimination or human rights violations should be referred to the appropriate state agency.

Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities
450 Columbus Boulevard, Hartford, CT 06103
Tel. 860-541-3400
Connecticut Toll Free: 1-800-477-5737
TDD: 860-541-3400
Maine Human Rights Commission
#51 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333
Tel. 207-624-6050
Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination
One Ashburton Pl., 6th Floor, Room 601, Boston, MA 02108
Tel. 617-994-6000
New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights
2 Industrial Park Drive, Bldg. One, Concord, NH 03301
Tel. 603-271-2767

If you are in need of the services of a language Interpreter if English is not your first language, the Commission for Human Rights offers telephone interpretation of 150 languages for immediate or scheduled intake services or general questions.

Please call our main line 603-271-2767 press option #0 to request a language interpreter, or email the Commission at humanrights@hrc.nh.gov to make an appointment, be sure to state the language you will need interpreted.

For accommodations for persons with disabilities, please call our main line 603-271-2767 press option #0 or contact us through email at humanrights@hrc.nh.gov.

Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights
180 Westminster St., 3rd Floor, Providence, RI 02903
Tel. 401-222-2661
Vermont Human Rights Commission
12 Baldwin Street, Montpelier, VT 05633
Toll Free Tel. 800-416-2010
Tel. 802-828-2480 

No. To file a complaint about how an institution administers federal financial aid, contact the New England Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Education at 617-289-0133. To resolve a problem with an existing student loan, you can find assistance at https://studentaid.gov/feedback-ombudsman/disputes/prepare.

No. Documents intended primarily for other audiences cannot provide sufficient information to help the Commission determine whether it can proceed with your complaint. Because the complaint policy addresses only potential violations of the Standards for Accreditationthe Commission does not respond to or take action on correspondence directed to another body.

No. Anonymous complaints are difficult for the Commission to process even when they appear to raise relevant accrediting issues. The Commission has no way to ask for additional information from the complainant or to engage in other follow-up. Therefore, the Commission does not accept anonymous complaints.

The Commission has the discretion to determine whether or not a complaint meets its criteria for considerationIf the complaint meets the criteria, it is forwarded to the institution’s chief executive officer, who has 30 days to respond. The Commission reviews the complaint and the institutional response at its next regularly scheduled meeting. (The Commission holds four regular business meetings each year, generally in September, November, March, and April.) 

In many cases, the institution can provide the Commission with adequate assurances that it has appropriate policies in place and has acted in accordance with those policies, or that it has recognized a problem and initiated corrective action. In such cases, no further action is warranted.

If the facts of the complaint and the institution’s response raise significant concerns regarding the institution’s current compliance with the Standards for Accreditation, the Commission determines the appropriate steps to take, depending on the circumstances and in keeping with the Commission’s policy on Periodic Review of Accredited Institutions. The institution and the complainant are notified by letter of the Commission’s decision.

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