American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

II.a. Accreditation Process

Classifications | Candidacy Application | Accreditation Application | Request for Submission Extension | Accreditation Fees | Administrative Probation

Accreditation Classifications

There are four status classifications1for programs in the accreditation process that reflect the CAA's evaluation of the extent to which an education program complies with the Standards for Accreditation (Standards). Any program that holds the status of "Accredited," or "Accredited – On Probation," is considered to be an accredited program. New programs that have been awarded candidacy status are noted as "Accreditation Candidate." Also included is an "Applicant" status to identify a program that has submitted an application for initial accreditation.

Accredited. Accreditation is awarded to a fully operational graduate education program that is in compliance with the Standards. The CAA awards initial accreditation for a maximum of 5 years, subject to annual review. The CAA awards reaccreditation for a maximum of 8 years, subject to annual review. A statement of concerns may accompany the letter awarding accreditation to assist the program in conducting self-evaluation prior to the first annual report. Renewal of accreditation is dependent upon payment of annual accreditation fees.

Accredited – On Probation. A program placed on probation is judged to be not in compliance with all accreditation standards, as indicated by clear evidence of circumstances that jeopardize the capability of the program to provide acceptable educational experiences for the students. A program also may be placed on probation because the program has not corrected deficiencies noted earlier by the CAA. Probation is an action taken by the CAA as a result of a review of an annual report, re-accreditation application, or other review. A program placed on probation is considered accredited. A new accreditation cycle is initiated based on the end date of the previous accreditation cycle if the decision resulted from a reaccreditation application review. A program is placed on probation for a period of one year, at which time the program must file a probation report. However, if at any time during the year, the program is able to rectify the deficiencies noted and achieve compliance with the standards, the CAA will consider removing the probationary status when review of the Probation Report so warrants. If compliance with the accreditation standards is not demonstrated within 1 year, accreditation will be withdrawn. Probation may be extended for one additional year only under extenuating circumstances. Probation status may not exceed 2 years. A probation decision cannot be appealed.

Accreditation Candidate. Candidacy status is awarded to a newly developed entry-level graduate degree program that meets all institutional and programmatic eligibility requirements, including that the program has no students currently enrolled and that it has been granted authorization through the governance process of the parent institution and the appropriate state authority to offer the graduate degree program(s) for which candidacy is sought.

Candidacy status requires compliance with the Standards for Accreditation in a logical sequence over several years. This allows new programs to evolve over time and to secure necessary resources to administer the program while being closely monitored by the CAA. Although compliance with all standards is not required at the time of award of candidacy, CAA's decision to award candidacy status is based on the program's submission of a comprehensive development plan (which is presented in the form of the candidacy application) and the program's and institution's demonstrated commitment and ability to implement the program fully. Once candidacy is awarded, programs will be monitored for continued development and compliance with the accreditation standards through submission of annual progress reports. Once determined to be in compliance with given standards, programs must maintain compliance with those standards throughout candidacy status. Candidacy status may be held for no longer than 5 years, subject to approval of the annual progress reports, at which time the program must meet all CAA Standards for Accreditation. Candidacy status cannot be renewed or extended.

Accreditation Applicant. This designator is used to identify a graduate education program that has submitted an Application for Accreditation and is not eligible to submit an application for Candidacy. The specific program does not hold any other accreditation status.

Application for Candidacy Status

In 1991, the Council on Professional Standards in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology established the status of Candidate for Accreditation for emerging education programs in audiology and in speech language pathology through the former Educational Standards Board (ESB). This status became necessary because, effective January 1, 1994, a policy was established that linked academic accreditation with an individual's eligibility for ASHA's Certificates of Clinical Competence (CCC). The status of Candidacy for Accreditation allowed students enrolled in newly established education programs to be eligible to apply for the CCC upon graduation without penalizing the first class of students graduating from those programs. The CAA's "stepwise" process for new programs seeking candidacy allows new programs to come into compliance with the Standards for Accreditation in a logical sequence while being closely monitored by the CAA. Programs may evolve over time and secure necessary resources to administer a quality program.

In 2007, the CAA implemented modifications to its "stepwise" model for the candidacy program and revised its materials to be consistent with compliance expectations of the 2008 Standards for Accreditation. Key features of the revised model include:

  • limiting eligibility for the candidacy process to new graduate education programs that agree to not enroll students until candidacy is awarded by the CAA
  • requiring a readiness review of a new program's application prior to official submission
  • the conduct of an on-campus site visit as part of the CAA's decision-making processes

Candidacy is open to applicant programs that:

  • are newly developed degree programs, including stand-alone programs or those offered through a consortium AND
  • have no students currently enrolled

Although compliance with all standards is not required at the time of award of candidacy, CAA's decision to award candidacy status is based on the program's submission of a comprehensive development plan (which is presented in the form of the candidacy application) and the program's and institution's demonstrated commitment and ability to implement the program fully. The application must describe for each accreditation standard the program's:

  • anticipated plan for development of the program and its current status in that development,
  • schedule for implementation of various aspects of the program, and
  • evidence of progress made towards compliance with all accreditation standards.

An Application for Candidacy [DOC], signed by the program and institution's representatives, must be submitted to CAA at least 18 months in advance of the proposed student enrollment date. Programs should allow adequate time for CAA's review and comment on the applicant program's development plan. Please note that time frames outlined in the Candidacy Manual are estimated and are dependent on the program's ability to demonstrate readiness to offer the graduate program. Therefore, some programs will take longer than others to advance through CAA's candidacy process.

The program and the institution agree to not enroll students into the applicant program until such time that candidacy status has been awarded by the CAA. The program will provide evidence upon submission of its candidacy application that it fully understands that failure to comply with this condition shall result in: a) termination of the candidacy review by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology without a final decision being made; and b) ineligibility as a candidate applicant. The program may retain its eligibility for CAA accreditation, but would be afforded opportunity to apply only for initial accreditation with the CAA. The CAA enacted this policy to protect students who are initiating their program of professional study in good faith that a program holds an accreditation status with the CAA, thereby ensuring students' eligibility for state and national professional credentials.

Candidacy status may be held for no longer than 5 years, at which time the program must meet all CAA Standards for Accreditation. Candidacy status cannot be renewed or extended.

Programs must meet specific standards at the time of Application for Candidacy, as well as at other stages during the candidacy process. Once candidacy is awarded, programs will be monitored for continued development and compliance with the accreditation standards through submission of annual progress reports. Once in compliance with given standards, programs must maintain compliance with those standards throughout candidacy term.

The application and all subsequent communications from the program should be forwarded to:

Chair, Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
2200 Research Boulevard #310
Rockville, MD 20850

The stepwise candidacy process is fully described in the Candidacy Manual, which may be obtained online or from the ASHA Accreditation Office.

The institution may withdraw its application for candidacy status without prejudice at any time before the CAA takes final action.

Application for Initial Accreditation or Reaccreditation

A program in candidacy status is required to submit a formal application for initial accreditation to the CAA no later than 24 months after the enrollment of its first class of graduate students. Programs that seek accreditation but do not meet the eligibility requirements for candidacy, may make application for CAA accreditation directly.

A program seeking reaccreditation must submit a formal application the CAA approximately one year prior to the end date of the current accreditation cycle. Programs in a 5-year accreditation period must file an application for reaccreditation in lieu of the fourth annual report. Programs accredited for 8 years must file an application for reaccreditation in lieu of the seventh annual report.

Programs are expected to file accreditation applications by February 1st or by August 1st; due dates are assigned based on the program's anniversary date of accreditation as indicated in the following table. 

Application Due Date: February 1 August 1
Anniversary or Reporting Date:

November
December
January
February
March
April

May
June
July
August
September
October

 

Notice of Intent—A program that does not currently hold an accreditation status, such as candidacy, that wishes to submit an application for initial accreditation must officially notify the Accreditation Office no later than 5 months before submission date (i.e., by September 1 for February 1 submission or by March 1 for August 1 submission). These notification deadlines allow sufficient time for the applicant program to be scheduled in the Higher Education Data System (HES) and then be provided access to the system to complete its application for initial accreditation. If the program fails to meet the notification deadline, it will be scheduled for the next HES fielding.

The format and procedures for reaccreditation are the same as those for initial accreditation. The program retains its current status (accredited, candidate, or is identified as an applicant if no prior accreditation status exists) while the (re)accreditation application is being reviewed. Normally, the review can be completed within the year before the current accreditation status cycle expires. New accreditation cycles will be established when approved by the CAA, and will begin on the date of expiration of the prior accreditation status cycle, i.e. initial accreditation cycle would begin on the date of expiration of the candidacy cycle; a new accreditation cycle would begin on the date of expiration of the previous accreditation cycle.

The president of the institution or the president's designee must sign the application for accreditation or reaccreditation. The application and all subsequent communications from the program should be forwarded to: Chair, Council on Academic Accreditation, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2200 Research Boulevard, #310, Rockville, Maryland 20850.

If a program does not submit an application for (re)accreditation by the due date and did not request an extension, the CAA notifies the program director and the president of the institution or the president's designee that the program has been placed on administrative probation. If the CAA does not receive the application within 30 days of the date of notification, the accreditation status is considered lapsed (withdrawn).

The institution may withdraw its application without prejudice at any time before final action by the CAA. A program also may withdraw from any accreditation status at any time. The program retains the right to reapply at a later time without prejudice. In addition, the CAA has the authority to delete a program from the list of accredited programs when the CAA concludes that the program is no longer in existence or in which the accreditation status has lapsed. In such instances, the CAA will notify the program of the pending action.

Requests for Submission Extension

The CAA (re)accreditation application and annual report are major sources of substantiating information about elements of an educational program in relation to its compliance with the Standards for Accreditation of Graduate Education Programs in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. It is the responsibility of the program director to submit the completed report to the CAA on or before the due date. It is the CAA’s expectations that the program demonstrates due diligence to complete reports within the time provided and employ the necessary resources to achieve timely submission.

When extenuating circumstances (e.g., ill health, family emergencies, extreme work commitments such as covering for someone who fell ill, bereavement, etc.) arise that have an impact on the program's timely submission of CAA reports, programs must request an extension for the submission of an accreditation report (i.e., application or annual report) by submitting its request in writing to the Accreditation Office no sooner than 30 days before the due date of the report and prior to the due date. The request for an extension must include a rationale for the request, a detailed description of the action taken and progress made to complete the report, and an estimate of additional time needed (up to 45 days beyond the submission date). The CAA Chair or designee will review the request for extension and approve or deny the request. Extensions will not be granted for longer than a total of 45 days from the original submission date.

Failure to submit a report by established due dates, including after the request of an extension, will result in the program being placed on administrative probation. The CAA notifies the program director and the president of the institution or the president's designee that the program has been placed on administrative probation and that if the report is not provided within 30 days of the report due date, e.g. by September 1 if the report was due August 1, the program's accreditation status will be lapsed (withdrawn).

Accreditation Fees

An initial application fee must accompany the application for initial application. A separate site visit fee also is charged for initial accreditation. There is no fee charged for subsequent site visits that are regularly scheduled for purposes of reaccreditation, except as noted below under Multiple Site Programs, Annual Reports, and Substantive Changes in this manual. Information regarding the current fee schedule is available on ASHA's website and from the ASHA Accreditation Office.

Renewal of accreditation is dependent upon timely payment of annual accreditation fees. Failure to pay annual accreditation fees within 60 days will result in the addition of a late fee to the past due amount and the program being placed on administrative probation with the notification sent to the program and the institution's president or designee. If full payment is not made by the end of the administrative probation period, the CAA will consider the program's accreditation status lapsed.

Accredited programs that have not paid their annual fees by the final due date will not be eligible to submit a voting ballot for any academic vacancies on the CAA during that year.

Administrative Probation2

A program placed on administrative probation is judged to have not met its reporting and/or financial expectations to the CAA. Administrative probation is an action taken by the CAA as a result of failure, by established deadlines, to:

  • complete and file any accreditation report (e.g., application, annual report, candidacy progress reports, probation reports), including all special requests for information, or
  • pay annual accreditation fees.

A program is placed on administrative probation for a period of 30 days, by which time the program must file the appropriate information or fees. Failure to do so will result in the determination that the program allowed its accreditation status to lapse and the program will no longer carry an accreditation status.

A program on administrative probation maintains its current public accreditation status, e.g. accredited, candidate, accredited-on probation, which relates to its ability to comply with the Standards for Accreditation. Programs that are placed on administrative probation are not listed publicly.

When administrative probation has been applied due to non-payment of accreditation fees, the program will be required to submit an Annual Report on the original due date. Review and approval of the Annual Report does not affect the administrative probationary status if the program is placed on administrative probation due to non-payment of fees.

1 The CAA employed an Interim Accreditation status between October 2001 and September 2004 to designate a newly proposed entry-level doctoral program that was in transition from or added to a CAA-accredited master's-level graduate education program in the same professional area. This designation was provided upon receipt of a Substantive Change Plan that requested review of the doctoral program in accordance with the CAA Policy on Substantive Changes. The interim accreditation review process was used to assess the readiness of an education program to transition to offering a higher degree and the program's continued compliance with the standards for accreditation. The CAA voted to phase out the Interim Accreditation status as of September 17, 2004. No accredited programs that submitted substantive change plans for a change in degree level were designated as holding Interim Accreditation status after that date. A program already holding that designation maintained it until the CAA decided to award or deny an accreditation status.

2 Administrative Probation was implemented January 1, 2012.

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