Institutions go through a process of annual renewals and on-site visits which allows them to keep their doors open, and their students to receive federal and state funding.

The health of an institution can be measured by the number of deficiencies received as a result of a site visit. In an ideal world, institutions have the checks, balances, and practices incorporated into their operation to ensure compliance is maintained on an ongoing basis. Unfortunately is not the case all the time, usually because of new institutions lacking knowledge or experience.

I recently attended a workshop where the presenting accrediting agency had prepared a report of the most common on-site visit deficiencies. Here is the list of the top 10, with #1 being the most frequent:

#10 - Admissions Documentation - There is no adequate documentation in the student files to show the institution adheres to its admissions policies.

#9 – Student and Faculty Files - Student files are missing the final transcript. Faculty transcripts are not official.

#8 – Externships - There is not sufficient documentation to show compliance with the externship portion of the program: no proper supervision, attendance records or evaluation of students on file.

#7 – Program Management Qualifications - The Director of Education, Dean or Program Director qualifications do not comply with the necessary requirements: degree, experience, license or certification.

#6 – Advisory Board - The advisory board lacks adequate representation, meetings, or metting minutes.

#5 – Syllabi - The institution's course syllabi are not in compliance or are not given to students at the beginning of each course.

#4 – Professional Growth - Administrative personnel and faculty lack the required annual professional growth plan and activities.

#3 – Outcomes - Ther reported placement rates cannot be verified due to unsatisfactory or non-existing documentation.

#2 – Surveys - There is no evidence that students have participated in surveys, or survey benchmarks have been developed.

#1 - Program Outcome Assessment - Programs fail to demonstrate an established and documented plan for assessing its effectiveness as defined by specific outcomes.

Is Your Institution Ready for the next site-visit? Maintaining an educational institution in compliance should not represent an additional effort nor expense. My recommendation for young institutions is to take time to examine each one of the areas presented above and identify any that may need improvement.

The Recipe:Define, Implement, Incorporate and Measure. 


Here is the recipe to bullet-proof your compliance and Best Practices plan in four simple steps:

  • Define what compliance means for each department and each role at your institution. 
  • Implement a practical way to systematically measure compliance for each one of them. 
  • Incorporate these methods into the daily operations of each role: no exceptions! 
  • Measure once a quarter and make any necessary adjustments.


Best wishes on your next visit!

Bayside Projects education management division provides compliance and accreditation consulting services to higher education institutions such as universities, colleges, technical and vocational schools. Contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation.


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Top 10 List of Higher Education
​Site-Visit Deficiencies


By Rosario Nunez

Private higher education institutions are regulated in the United States by the Department of Education and Accrediting Agencies.

Top 10 List of Higher Education Site-Visit Deficiencies
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