A. Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct

1. The institution has a conflict of interest policy that ensures that the governing board and the senior administrative personnel act in the best interest of the institution.

2. The institution has ethics policies for faculty and staff regarding conflict of interest, nepotism, recruitment and admissions, financial aid, privacy of personal information, and contracting.

3. The institution provides its students, administrators, faculty, and staff with policies and procedures informing them of their rights and responsibilities within the institution.

4. The institution provides clear information regarding its procedures for receiving complaints and grievances from students and other constituencies, responds to them in a timely manner, and analyzes them to improved its processes.

5. The institution makes readily available to the public clear and complete information including:
  1. statements of mission, vision, and values
  2. full descriptions of the requirements for its programs, including all prerequisite courses
  3. requirements for admission both to the institution and to particular programs or majors
  4. policies on acceptance of transfer credit, including how credit is applied to degree requirements (Except for courses articulated through transfer policies or institutional agreements, the institution makes no promises to prospective students regarding the acceptance of credit awarded by examination, credit for prior learning, or credit for transfer until an evaluation has been conducted.)
  5. all student costs, including tuition, fees, training, and incidentals; its financial aid policies, practices, and requirements; and its policy on refunds
  6. policies regarding academic good standing, probation, and dismissal; residency or enrollment requirements (if any)
  7. a full list of its instructors and their academic credentials
  8. its relationship with any corporate parent and any external provider of its instruction.

6. Any studies the institution makes public regarding student achievement of learning or student persistence, retention, and completion are accurate and complete.

7. The institution portrays clearly and accurately to the public its current status with the Higher Learning Commission and with specialized, national, and professional accreditation agencies.

  1. An institution offering programs that require specialized accreditation or recognition in order for its students to be certified or sit for licensing examinations either has the appropriate accreditation or discloses publicly and clearly the consequences to the students of the lack thereof. The institution makes clear to students the distinction between regional and specialized or program accreditation and the relationships between licensure and the various types of accreditation.
  2. An institution offering programs eligible for specialized accreditation at multiple locations discloses the accreditation status of the program at each location.
  3. An institution that advertises a program as preparation for a licensure examination publicly discloses its licensure pass rate on that examination, unless such information is not available to the institution.

8. The governing board and its executive committee, if it has one, include some “public” members. Public members have no significant administrative position or any ownership interest in any of the following: the institution itself; a company that does substantial business with the institution; a company or organization with which the institution has a substantial partnership; a parent, ultimate parent, affiliate, or subsidiary corporation; an investment group or firm substantially involved with one of the above organizations. All publicly elected members or members appointed by publicly elected individuals or bodies (governors, elected legislative bodies) are public members.*

9. The governing board has the authority to approve the annual budget and to engage and dismiss the chief executive officer.*

10. The institution documents outsourcing of all services in written agreements, including agreements with parent or affiliated organizations.

11. The institution takes responsibility for the ethical and responsible behavior of its contractual partners in relation to actions taken on its behalf. 

* Note: Institutions operating under federal control and authorized by Congress are exempt from these requirements. These institutions must have a public board that includes representation by individuals who do not have a current or previous employment or other relationship with the federal government or any military entity. This public board has a significant role in setting policy, reviewing the institution’s finances, reviewing and approving major institutional priorities, and overseeing the academic programs of the institution.

View Criterion Two: Ethical and Responsible Conduct