Process, Applications for Connecticut Independent Institutions of Higher
The Office of Higher Education (OHE) is charged with the
licensure and accreditation of independent colleges
and universities operating in Connecticut. State statutes require OHE to
approve proposals submitted by independent colleges and universities for:
which allows institutions to enroll students in a program,
which allows institutions to confer a degree in a program, and
which are revisions to existing programs.
These may be determined to be substantive or non-substantive.
Applications are reviewed by OHE within 45 days of receipt.
During the review period, OHE staff will evaluate the proposal and contact
college officials with questions or requests for more information.
Successful proposals will have been deemed to meet all
state academic standards.
Additional review, extending beyond the 45-day period, may be required for:
proposals for academic programs in fields new to the applicant institution
proposals for academic programs at degree levels new to the application
proposals to establish new institutions.
There are two types of additional review:
Focused Review, which involves
the participation of an out-of-state expert in the proposed content field.
On-site Review by an evaluation
team, involving out-of-state experts conducted at the
institution. This level of review
most often occurs in cases of an application for licensure of a new
institution for which there is a 9-month review period.
Applications for licensure of new programs
circulated for comment to all Connecticut public and independent
colleges and universities at the same time applications are submitted to OHE.
The 15-day circulation period is conducted by OHE once it receives both
licensure application and
circulation form via regular mail.
Any institution wishing to comment on the
application must send their statements both to OHE and the applicant
The latter must then respond to the comments both to OHE and the
Applications for approval of new academic programs and
institutions should be submitted to the OHE as early as possible before their
planned implementation to allow adequate time for review and student recruitment. State
regulations specify nine months in advance.
Effective July 1, 2018 and in accordance with
Public Act 18-33,
certain non-profit private colleges and universities are exempt until July 1,
2020, from the OHE approval process for up to twelve new programs of higher
learning in any academic year and any program modifications. To qualify for an exemption,
institutions of higher education must:
maintain eligibility to participate in financial aid
programs governed by Title IV, Part B of the Higher Education Act of 1965;
have a financial responsibility score, as determined
by the United States Department of Education, that is not less than 1.5 for
the most recent fiscal year for which the data necessary for determining the
score is available; and
have been located in the state and accredited as a
degree-granting institution in good standing for 10 years or more by a
regional accrediting association recognized by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of
Education and maintain such accreditation status.
Exempt institutions shall file with OHE:
an application for approval of any new program of
higher learning in excess of 12 new programs in any academic year;
a program actions form (below) prior to students
enrolling in any new program of higher learning or any existing program
subject to a program modification.
Exempt institutions must provide OHE with the following
information by July 1 of each year:
a list and brief description of any new programs of
higher learning introduced by the institution in the preceding academic
a list of any discontinued programs for the preceding
the institution's current program approval process
and all actions of the governing board concerning approval of any new
program of higher learning;
the most recent financial responsibility composite
score available, as determined by the United States Department of Education.
To provide notice of new academic programs and changes,
please complete the following form:
Applications for program accreditation which contain evidence
of programmatic accreditation by an external, professional accrediting agency
may be considered by OHE to have met state academic standards.
For institutional accreditation, OHE accepts regional
accreditation (i.e., accreditation by a regional accrediting body recognized by
the U.S. Department of Education) in lieu of state accreditation, unless it finds
cause not to do so.
OHE accepts national accreditation (i.e. accreditation
by a national accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education)
in lieu of state accreditation only for Connecticut independent institutions of
higher education accredited prior to July 1, 2013, unless it finds cause not to