Authorization

Learn how to obtain authorization and approval as a degree-granting institution in Maine.

Establish a degree-granting institution

The procedures for obtaining initial authorization and approval are as follows.

1. Application - Officials of the applicant institution of higher educations hall notify the Commissioner, in writing, of their intent to obtain legislative authorization to confer a degree at the Associate level or higher. An application must be received at least six months prior to the start of a legislative session.

2. Notification to Presidents - The Commissioner will notify the presidents of all Maine institutions of higher education indicating receipt of the initial request.  

3. Provide Materials - The Commissioner will provide to the officials of the applicant institution of higher education such materials as are necessary to the conduct and finalizing of the authorization process. Such materials shall include a copy of the procedures to be followed and standards to be met and other items as are pertinent.

4. Preparing Report, Content - Officials of the applicant institution of higher education shall prepare a report and forward it to the Commissioner. The report must provide in-depth information about the institution by giving attention to the following topics:

a. Institution Objectives
b. Organization and Governance
c. Academic Programs
d. Degree Requirements
e. Admission Requirements
f. Faculty
g. Student Services
h. Library and Learning Resources
i. Physical Faculties
j. Financial Resources

Other areas to be addressed, but not included in the topical listing, should be added by institution officials in an effort to give as clear a picture as possible of the institution's operation.

5. Form Review Committee - After information requested in #4 is received, the Commissioner will form a Review Committee authorized to review and evaluate the submitted material and to conduct on-site visits when applicable. The membership of the Committee will be determined by the Commissioner after consultation with officials of the applicant institution subject to the final approval of the State Board of Education. The committee will consist of at least five individuals who will be representative of Maine's institutions of higher education. Other members may be added by the State Board of Education. One of the members will be a member of the Maine Higher Education Council who will serve as Chair of the Committee. Expenses incurred by the Committee will be the responsibility of the applicant institution of higher education.  

6. Review Committee Prepares Report - The Review Committee will prepare a report detailing the facts based upon a review of the submitted materials, the application of standards for evaluating requests as adopted by the State Board of Education, and information obtained from the on-site visit, if one was conducted, and include a recommendation as to whether the request for degree granting authority should be authorized. Prior to completion of the final report, the Review Committee will prepare an initial draft copy, without recommendation, and submit this to officials of the applicant institution for their review of the accuracy of the facts presented.

7. Review Committee Forwards Report - The final report and recommendation shall be forwarded to the Commissioner within four weeks following the Committee's visit or by the last Friday in November. A copy of the report, and recommendation, shall also be forwarded to the President of the applicant institution. At this time, officials of the applicant institution will be notified concerning their responsibility to obtain a bill sponsor and to take the necessary steps to get a bill drafted and filed in preparation for legislative action.  

8. Commissioner Transmits Report - The Commissioner will transmit the report of the Review Committee to the State Board of Education. The Board will receive the report and recommendation at its December meeting with final action to be taken at the next regular meeting at which time the Commissioner will make a recommendation for action.  

If the officials of the applicant institution wish to make any comments, reaction, or rebuttal relative to the contents of the final report of the Review Committee, this shall be in writing to the Board and shall be available for receipt by the Board not later than at its December meeting. Concurrently, this material shall be made available to the Chair of the Review Committee and if the Committee wishes to respond to its content, this shall be done in writing and submitted to the State Board of Education at least 10 days prior to the date of its meeting at which time final action is scheduled.

9. State Board Action - The State Board of Education will make a recommendation on the request and transmit this to the Joint Legislative Committee on Education, and officials of the applicant institution will be notified of this action.

For a full version of the procedures see Ch 149 (A).

 

Out-of-state school authorization

Procedures are as follows:

  1. Applications - Officials of the applicant institution of higher education shall notify the Commissioner, in writing, of their intent to obtain State Board approval to offer an academic credit course or program in Maine.
  2. Notification to Presidents - The Commissioner will notify the president of all Maine institution of higher education indicating receipt of the initial request.
  3. Provide Materials - The Commissioner will provide to the officials of the applicant institution such materials as are necessary to the conduct and finalizing of the approval process. Such materials shall include a copy of the procedures to be followed and standards to be met and other items as are pertinent.
  4. Information Provided by Applicant - Officials of the applicant institution shall provide such information as is required by the Commissioner to include completion of an application form.
  5. Form Review Committee - After information requested in #4 is received, the Commissioner will form a Review Committee authorized to review and evaluate the submitted material. This committee will conduct any on-site visit as is appropriate at Maine locations where the course/program will be offered or meet in Maine with institution officials to discuss the details of the proposed offerings. A meeting with officials of the applicant institution is required as part of the approval process. The membership of the Committee will be determined by the Commissioner and will consist of at least three individuals representative of Maine's institutions of higher education.
  6. Review Committee Report and Recommendation - The Review committee will prepare a report based upon a review of the submitted materials, the application of standards for evaluating requests as adopted by the State Board of Education, information obtained from the on-site visit, if one was made, and the meeting with institution officials. The Committee's report will also include a recommendation as to whether approval should be granted or denied. The Review Committee will forward this to the Commissioner and State Board of Education.
  7. Final Action by State Board of Education - Upon receipt of the Review Committee's report and recommendation, and upon recommendation by the Commissioner, the Board will either grant or deny the approval request. If approval is granted it shall be valid for a four year period unless a special situation requires a shorter period.
  8. Program Changes - Any future changes that the applicant institution desires to make in the courses or programs previously approved by the Board shall be submitted to the Commissioner at least three months in advance o the planned implementation date. The need for the implications of these changes shall be explained. Materials as submitted will be reviewed by the Review Committee with written comments made to the Commissioner who shall prepare a report and recommendation for the Board. The Board shall either grant or deny the request for changes.
  9. Renewal - A request previously approved by the Board may be renewed. The renewal shall be for a a specified time period which will be dependent upon the nature of the course or program offerings. Officials of the applicant institution shall notify the Commissioner of their desire to renew the approval and indicate any significant changes that would be made in the previously approved offerings. The Commissioner will notify the President of all Maine postsecondary institutions indicating receipt of the renewal request. The submitted materials will be reviewed by a Review Committee which will make written comments to the Commissioner. This Review Committee shall consist of all or at least three members of the committee that evaluated the initial request. If there are less than three members of the original group still available a new committee shall be constituted. The Commissioner shall, concurrently, cause an evaluation to be done of the previously approved offerings.

Following review of the comments received and the completed evaluation, the Commissioner will prepare a report and recommendation for the Board. Following review of the report and upon recommendation from the Commissioner, the Board will either grant or deny the renewal request.

For a full version of the procedures see Ch 149 (C).

 

Secure additional degree-granting authorization

  1. Application - Officials of the applicant institution of higher education shall notify the Commissioner in writing of their intent to obtain additional degree approval at the Associate level or higher from the State Board of Education.
  2.  Notification to Presidents - The Commissioner will notify the presidents of Maine institutions of higher education indicating receipt of the initial request.
  3.  Provide Materials - The Commissioner will provide to the officials of the applicant institution such materials as are necessary to the conduct and finalizing of the approval process. Such materials shall include a copy of the procedures to be followed and standards to be met and other items as are pertinent.
  4. Preparing Report, Content - Officials of the applicant institution shall prepare a report and forward it to the Commissioner. The report must provide in-depth information about the institution by giving attention to the following topics.

    a. Institutional Objectives
    b. Organizational and Governance
    c. Academic Programs
    d. Degree Requirements
    e. Admission Requirements
    f. Faculty
    g. Student Services
    h. Library and Learning Resources
    i. Physical Facilities
    j. Financial Resources 

    Other areas to be addressed, but not included in the topical listing, should be added by institution officials in an effort to give as clear a picture as possible of the institution's operation.
  5. Form Review Committee - After information requested in #4 is received, the Commissioner will form a Review Committee authorized to review and evaluate the submitted material and to conduct on-site visits when applicable. The membership of the Committee will be determined by the Commissioner after consultation with officials of the applicant institution subject to the final approval of the State Board of Education. The committee will consist of at least five individuals who will be representative of Maine's institutions of higher education. Other members may be added by the State Board of Education. One of the members will be member of the Maine Higher Education Council who will serve as Chair of the Committee. Expenses incurred by the Committee will be the responsibility of the applicant institution.  
  6. Review Committee Prepares Report - The Review Committee will prepare a report detailing the facts based upon a review of the submitted materials, the application of standards for evaluating requests as adopted by the State Board of Education, and information obtained from the on-site visit if one was conducted, and include a recommendation as to whether the request for additional degree approval should be granted. Prior to completion of the final report, the Review Committee will prepare an initial draft copy, without recommendation, and submit this to officials of the applicant institution for their review of the accuracy of the fact presented.  
  7. Review Committee Forwards Report - The final report and recommendation shall be forwarded to the Commissioner within four weeks following the Committee's visit. A copy of the report and recommendation, shall also be forwarded to the President of the applicant institution.
  8. Commissioner Transmits Report - The Commissioner will transmit the report of the Review Committee to the State Board of Education. The Board will receive the report and recommendation at one of its regular meetings with final action to grant or deny approval to confer an additional degree or degrees to be taken at its next regular meeting at which time the Commissioner will make a recommendation for action.

    If the officials of the applicant institution wish to make any comments, reaction, or rebuttal relative to the contents of the final report of the Review Committee, this shall be made in writing to the Board and such shall be available for receipt by the Board not later than three weeks prior to the date that final action is scheduled. Concurrently, this material shall be made available to the Chair of the Review Committee and if the Committee wishes to respond to its content, this shall be done in writing and submitted to the Board at least 10 days prior to the date of its meeting at which time final action is scheduled. 
  9. Notification to Officials - Officials of the applicant institution will be notified in writing of the action of the State Board of Education.

For a full version of the procedures see Ch 149 (B).

Standards for authorization evaluation

See Standards for Evaluating Requests, Maine DOE Rule Chapter 170.