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Between comprehensive evaluations, the Commission requires that member institutions complete an interim report which is typically at the fifth year of a ten-year review cycle. The following procedures provide assistance to institutions with the process of completing fifth-year reports.

Fifth-year reports require institutions to reflect upon progress made since the last comprehensive review and to project areas of focus for the next five years leading up to the next comprehensive review. The fifth-year report process serves as a vehicle for stimulating improvements within the institution, and for supporting the Commission in its role of assuring the public of the quality of the institution and higher education as an enterprise. The Commission’s Policy on the Periodic Review of Accredited Institutions (attached) provides the expectations for periodic reviews:

“At its best, the periodic review of accredited institutions is a creative means of assisting them in the continuous assessment of their educational objectives and their success in fulfilling institutional goals. The more self-study and evaluation are seen as directly related to institutional viability and quality, the more productive the self-study and evaluation process will be.”

The procedures below provide an outline of what is expected for the process of developing and completing the fifth-year report.


  1. Reminder to the Institution: Approximately a year in advance of the Commission's consideration of the fifth-year report, the institution is reminded of the requirement and provided a copy of these procedures, the Policy on the Periodic Review of Accredited Institutions, the Policy on Institutional Effectiveness, and a copy of the new Standards for Accreditation along with directions for locating them on our web site. The new Standards formally take effect for Commission reviews beginning January 1, 2006.
  2. Staff Visit: At the institution's request, a member of the Commission's staff will visit the institution, meeting with those responsible for the preparation of the report, to discuss its preparation in light of Commission expectations. The Commission encourages scheduling a staff visit to discuss ways of implementing of the new Standards.
  3. Review of Electronically Offered Degree Programs, Off-campus Programming, and Contractual Relationships. Institutions that have electronically offered degree programs (in which students can complete 50% or more of the courses on-line) and off-campus programming (branch campuses or other instructional locations where students can complete 50% or more of their degree, or contractual relationships involving courses and programs) must specifically address these programs at appropriate points within their presentation of the institution as a whole. Institutions that offer such programs and those contemplating offering a higher degree but that have not yet completed the “substantive change” process to include these elements in the institution’s accreditation should contact the Commission offices.
  4. Preparation of the Report: Institutions are encouraged to use this occasion as an opportunity to undertake an assessment of their educational planning and effectiveness both for their own purposes and in reference to their fulfillment of the Commission's new Standards. Where on-going systems of self-evaluation exist, institutions should utilize the results of those efforts in the preparation of their reports. The fifth-year report should be no longer than 50 pages, not including Enrollment and Fiscal Data forms.

    The Commission asks that the following guidelines be used for the format and content of the report.
    1. Cover Page. The cover page includes the name and location of the institution, the date of the report's submission, and a notation that this is a fifth-year report.
    2. Statement on Report Preparation. The institution should describe briefly the process by which the report was prepared and indicate the names of those involved in its preparation.
    3. Institutional Overview. This section should provide an overview of the institution, including its purpose, setting, and any special circumstances that would help the reader understand its nature and scope.
    4. Response to Areas Identified for Special Emphasis. Frequently, in its actions specifying fifth-year interim reports, the Commission identifies areas which should be given particular emphasis in the report. Institutions in preparing their report should give special consideration to these matters, providing sufficient information so that the Commission will be adequately apprised of the current state of development in the areas indicated. Please make reference to the new Standards in addressing each of these areas of special emphasis.
    5. Narrative. In this major portion of the interim report, the institution should discuss how and how well it meets each of the Standards. This narrative review is designed to give the institution the opportunity to conduct a mid-course review against the new Standards. The Commission encourages institutions to both address the Standards in a comprehensive way and to identify high priority issues and initiatives for particular emphasis due to their relevance to the institution at this point in time.

      Information included in the ‘Response to Areas Identified for Special Emphasis’ (described above) need not be repeated in this narrative other than to make reference at appropriate points that they were addressed in the previous section. NEASC/CIHE Procedures for Fifth-Year Reports
    6. Plans. The report concludes with a statement of what the institution anticipates as its most significant issues and initiatives for the next five years.
    7. Enrollment and Fiscal Data. The institution should append to the report enrollment and fiscal data covering the years since the last comprehensive visit. It should also provide summary projections for enrollment and financial development for the next five years. There are separate forms for independent and public institutions; a disk with the appropriate forms for your institution is enclosed. Independent institutions should complete forms 1 through 7, and forms 8-5, 9-1, and 9-2 as well as the Summaries, Ratios and Graphs. Public institutions should complete the general information form, forms 1 through 6, form 8, and the last table of form 7.
  5. Submitting the Report. The institution should send four copies of the report and four institutional catalogs to the office of the Commission by the required date of submission. After reviewing the report, the Commission will notify the institution of its action.
  6. Commission Action: Interim reports are considered by the Commission at one of its regular meetings. Following its review, the Commission may take one of the following actions:
    1. to accept the report and confirm the established date for the next comprehensive evaluation in five years;
    2. to accept the report but also request further information on specific issues. The submission of such information may be followed by an on-site evaluation;
    3. to accept the report but require that a follow-up visit be undertaken by a small team of evaluators;
    4. to reject the report and request that a new one be prepared and submitted within a specified period of time. Such reports may be followed by an on-site evaluation;
    5. to receive the report and require that a self-study be undertaken at the earliest possible date, to be followed by an on-site evaluation;
    6. in extreme cases, to require that the institution show cause why it should not be placed on probation or its accreditation should not be terminated.


CIHE: August, 1997
Revised: October, 2003
February, 2004
January, 2005 NEASC/CIHE Procedures for Fifth-Year Reports

reaccreditation/procedure_for_5th_year_reports.txt · Last modified: 2006/11/28 09:23 (external edit)