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 to their operation to ensure compliance is maintained on an ongoing basis. Unfortunately sometimes is not the case, usually new institutions lacking knowledge or experience.

I recently attended a workshop where the accrediting agency presenting 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 no 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 - Inadequate advisory board representation, meetings or 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 - Unsatisfactory or non-existing documentation on file to verify the reported placement rates.

#2 – Surveys - No evidence 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 to the daily operations of each role: no exceptions! 
  • Measure once a quarter, and make any necessary adjustments.


Best wishes on your next visit!

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If you need assistance in United States we are available for a complimentary consultation. Bayside Projects education management division provides consulting services to higher education institutions such as universities, colleges, technical and vocational schools. We serve national institutions as well as international ones looking forward to establish a presence in United States. Our Services: accreditation, compliance, new institution applications and best practices.


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Top 10 List of Higher Education
​Site-Visit Deficiencies


By Rosario Nunez

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

Top 10 List of Higher Education Site-Visit Deficiencies
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