All non-exempt postsecondary educational institutions that
operate within the state of Texas are required to meet the following
standards. These standards will be enforced through the Certificate
of Authority process for institutions without Board-recognized accreditation.
Standards addressing the same principles will be enforced by Board-recognized
accrediting agencies under the Certificate of Authorization process.
Particular attention will be paid to the institution's commitment
to education, responsiveness to recommendations and suggestions for
improvement, and, in the case of a renewal of a Certificate of Authority,
record of improvement and progress. These standards represent generally
accepted administrative and academic practices and principles of accredited
postsecondary institutions in Texas. Such practices and principles
are generally set forth by institutional and specialized accrediting
bodies and the academic and professional organizations.
(1) Legal Compliance. The institution shall be maintained
and operated in compliance with all applicable ordinances and laws,
including the rules and regulations adopted to administer those ordinances
and laws. Postsecondary educational institutions shall demonstrate
compliance with Texas Education Code, Chapter 132 by supplying either
a copy of a Certificate of Approval to operate a career school or
college or a Letter of Exemption from the Texas Workforce Commission.
(2) Qualifications of Institutional Officers.
(A) The character, education, and experience in higher
education of governing board administrators, supervisors, counselors,
agents, representatives, and other institutional officers shall reasonably
ensure that the institution can maintain the standards of the Board
and progress to accreditation within the time limits set by the Board.
(B) The chief academic officer shall hold an earned
advanced degree appropriate for the mission of the institution, preferably,
an earned doctorate awarded by an institution accredited by a recognized
accrediting agency, and shall demonstrate sound aptitude for and experience
with curriculum development and assessment; accreditation standards
and processes as well as all relevant state regulations; leadership
and development of faculty, including the promotion of scholarship,
research, service, academic freedom and responsibility, and tenure
(where applicable); and the promotion of student success.
(C) In the case of a renewal of a Certificate of Authority,
the institutional officers also shall demonstrate a record of effective
leadership in administering the institution.
(3) Governance. The institution shall have a system
of governance that facilitates the accomplishment of the institution's
mission and purposes, supports institutional effectiveness and integrity,
and protects the interests of its constituents, including students,
faculty and staff. If the institution has a governing board consisting
of at least three (3) members, and that board focuses on the accomplishment
of the institution's mission and purposes, supports institutional
effectiveness and integrity, and protects the interests of its constituents,
this standard will be considered as met. In the absence of such a
governing board, the burden to establish appropriate safeguards within
its system of governance and to demonstrate their effectiveness falls
upon the institution.
(4) Distinction of Roles. The institution shall define
the powers, duties and responsibilities of the governing body and
the executive officers. There shall be a clear distinction in the
roles and personnel of the chief business officer and the chief academic
(5) Financial Resources and Stability. The institution
shall have adequate financial resources and financial stability to
provide education of good quality and to be able to fulfill its commitments
to students. The institution shall have sufficient reserves, line
of credit, or surety instrument so that, together with tuition and
fees, it would be able to complete its educational obligations for
the current term to currently enrolled students if it were unable
to admit any new students.
(6) Financial Records. Financial records and reports
of the institution shall be kept and made separate and distinct from
those of any affiliated or sponsoring person or entity. Financial
records and reports at a not-for-profit institution shall be kept
in accordance with the guidelines of the National Association of College
and University Business Officers as set forth in College and University
Business Administration (Sixth Edition), or such later editions as
may be published. An annual independent audit of all fiscal accounts
of the educational institution shall be authorized by the governing
board and shall be performed by a properly authorized certified public
(7) Institutional Assessment. Continual and effective
assessment, planning, and evaluation of all aspects of the institution
shall be conducted to advance and improve the institution. These aspects
include, but are not limited to, the academic program of teaching,
research, and public service; administration; financial planning and
control; student services; facilities and equipment, and auxiliary
(8) Program Evaluation.
(A) The institution shall establish adequate procedures
for planning and evaluation, define in measurable terms its expected
educational results, and describe how those results will be achieved.
(B) For all associate degree programs, the evaluation
criteria shall include the following: mission, labor market need,
curriculum, enrollment, graduates, student placement, follow-up results,
ability to finance each program of study, facilities and equipment,
instructional practices, student services, public and private linkages,
qualifications of faculty and administrative personnel, and success
of its students.
(C) For applied associate degree programs relating
to occupations where state or national licensure is required, graduates
must pass the licensing examination at a rate acceptable to the related
(D) Prior to establishing a new degree program, the
institution shall evaluate the need for the proposed program of study
through survey, research, or other means of measure. The capacity
and ability of similar programs at public, private or independent
institutions of higher education and private postsecondary educational
institutions within Texas to meet market needs shall be considered.
(9) Administrative Resources. The institution has the
administrative capacity to meet the daily needs of the administration,
faculty and students, including facilities, laboratories, equipment,
technology and learning resources that support the institution's mission
(10) Student Admission and Remediation.
(A) Upon the admission of a student to any undergraduate
program, the institution shall document the student's level of preparation
to undertake college level work by obtaining proof of the student's
high school graduation or General Educational Development (GED) certification.
If a GED is presented, to be valid, the score must be at or above
the passing level set by the Texas Education Agency. The academic
skills of each entering student may be assessed with an instrument
of the institution's choice. The institution may provide an effective
program of remediation for students diagnosed with deficiencies in
their preparation for collegiate study.
(B) Upon the admission of a student to any graduate
program, the institution shall document that the student is prepared
to undertake graduate-level work by obtaining proof that the student
holds a baccalaureate degree from an institution accredited by a recognized
accrediting agency, or an institution holding a Certificate of Authority
to offer baccalaureate degrees under the provisions of this chapter,
or a degree from a foreign institution equivalent to a baccalaureate
degree from an accredited institution. The procedures used by the
institution for establishing the equivalency of a foreign degree shall
be consistent with the guidelines of the National Council on the Evaluation
of Foreign Educational Credentials or its successor.
(11) Faculty Qualifications. The character, education,
and experience in higher education of the faculty shall be such as
may reasonably ensure that the students will receive an education
consistent with the objectives of the course or program of study.
(A) Each faculty member, except as provided by subparagraph
(E) of this paragraph, teaching in an academic associate, applied
associate leading to required state or national licensure, or baccalaureate
level degree program shall have at least a master's degree from an
institution accredited by a recognized agency with at least eighteen
(18) graduate semester credit hours in the discipline, or closely
related discipline, being taught.
(B) Each faculty member except, as provided by subparagraph
(E) of this paragraph, teaching career and technical courses in an
applied associate degree program, or career and technical courses
that academic associate or baccalaureate students may choose to take,
shall have at least an associate degree in the discipline being taught
from an institution accredited by a recognized agency and or at least
three (3) years of full-time direct or closely related experience
in the discipline being taught.
(C) Each faculty member, except as provided by subparagraph
(E) of this paragraph, teaching general education courses in an applied
associate degree program shall have at least a master's degree from
an institution accredited by a recognized accrediting agency with
at least eighteen (18) graduate semester credit hours in the discipline,
or closely related discipline, being taught.
(D) Except as provided by subparagraph (E) of this
paragraph, graduate-level degree programs shall be taught by faculty
holding doctorates, or other degrees generally recognized as the highest
attainable in the discipline, or closely related discipline, awarded
by institutions accredited by an agency recognized by the Board.
(E) With the approval of a majority of the institution's
governing board, an individual with exceptional experience in the
field of appointment, which may include direct and relevant work experience,
professional licensure and certification, honors and awards, continuous
documented excellence in teaching, or other demonstrated competencies
and achievements, may serve as a faculty member without the degree
credentials specified in subparagraphs (A) - (D) of this paragraph.
Such appointments shall be limited and the justification for each
such appointment shall be fully documented. The Board may review the
qualifications of the full complement of faculty providing instruction
at the institution to verify that such appointments are justified.
(12) Faculty Size. There shall be a sufficient number
of faculty holding full-time teaching appointments that are accessible
to the students to ensure continuity and stability of the education
program, adequate educational association between students and faculty
and among the faculty members, and adequate opportunity for proper
preparation for instruction and professional growth by faculty members.
At the associate and baccalaureate levels, there shall be at least
one (1) full-time faculty member in each program. At the graduate
level, there shall be at least two (2) full-time faculty members in
(13) Academic Freedom and Faculty Security. The institution
shall adopt, adhere to, and distribute to all members of the faculty
a statement of academic freedom assuring freedom in teaching, research,
and publication. All policies and procedures concerning promotion,
tenure, and non-renewal or termination of appointments, including
for cause, shall be clearly stated and published in a faculty handbook,
adhered to by the institution, and supplied to all faculty. The specific
terms and conditions of employment of each faculty member shall be
clearly described in a written document to be given to that faculty
member, with a copy to be retained by the institution.
(A) The quality, content, and sequence of each course,
curriculum, or program of instruction, training, or study shall be
appropriate to the purpose of the institution and shall be such that
the institution may reasonably and adequately achieve the stated objectives
of the course or program. Each program shall adequately cover the
breadth of knowledge of the discipline taught and coursework must
build on the knowledge of previous courses to increase the rigor of
instruction and the learning of students in the discipline. A majority
of the courses in the areas of specialization required for each degree
program shall be offered in organized classes by the institution.
An institution may offer for-credit coursework that does not directly
relate to approved programs, provided that it does not exceed twenty-five
(25) percent of all courses.
(B) Academic associate degrees must consist of at least
sixty (60) semester credit hours and not more than sixty-six (66)
semester credit hours or ninety (90) quarter credit hours and not
more than ninety-nine (99) quarter credit hours. Applied associate
degrees must consist of at least sixty (60) semester credit hours
and not more than seventy-two (72) semester credit hours or ninety
(90) quarter credit hours and not more than one hundred eight (108)
quarter hours. A baccalaureate degree must consist of at least one
hundred twenty (120) semester credit hours or one hundred eighty (180)
quarter credit hours. A master's degree must consist of at least thirty
(30) semester credit hours and not more than thirty-six (36) semester
credit hours or forty-five (45) quarter credit hours and not more
than fifty-four (54) quarter credit hours of graduate level work past
the baccalaureate degree.