The Higher Education Coordinating Board
Rules and Regulations
Subchapter K: Private and Out-of-State Public Degree-Granting Insititutions Operating in Texas
5.214. Standards for Nonexempt Institutions.
(a) The decision to grant a certificate of authority to an institution will
based on its compliance with the following 25 standards, priority given 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
following initial approval which would ensure accreditation within the allotted time.
The 25 standards represent generally accepted administrative and academic practices
and principles of accredited institutions of higher education in Texas. Such
practices and principles are generally set forth by regional and specialized
accrediting bodies and the academic and professional societies which have
established standards for their members' programs such as the National Association of
College and University Business Officers and the American Association of Collegiate
Registrars and Admissions Officers.
(1) Qualifications of Institutional Officers. The character, education,
and experience in higher education of governing board members, administrators,
supervisors, counselors, agents, and other institutional officers
shall be such as may reasonably ensure that the students will receive
education consistent with the objectives of the course or program of study.
In particular, the academic administrator shall be qualified by level and area
of academic preparation, as well as through appropriate experience, to direct
the academic affairs of the institution.
(2) Governing Board. The governing board, consisting of at least
five members, must be an active policy-making body and must exercise its
authority to ensure that the mission of the institution is carried out.
Membership of the governing board of the institution shall be comprised of
individuals who represent the institution's constituency, including faculty,
students, and supporters. The presiding officer of the board, along with a
majority of the other voting members, must have no contractual, employment,
or personal or familial financial interest in the institution and derive no
financial gain from the operations of the institution.
(3) Distinction of Roles. There shall be sufficient distinction
the roles and personnel of the governing board of the institution, the
administration, and faculty to ensure their appropriate separation and
(4) Instructional Assessment. Provisions shall be made for the
continual assessment of the educational program, including the evaluation
and improvement of instruction.
(5) Student Admission and Remediation. Upon the admission
of a student
to any undergraduate program, the institution shall document that the student
is prepared to undertake college level work, generally by obtaining proof of
the student's high school graduation or General Educational Development (GED)
certification, and by assessing with an appropriate diagnostic test the
student's ability to do collegiate level work. 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 institution shall provide an effective program of
remediation for students diagnosed with deficiencies in their preparation
for collegiate study. 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 of the student's holding a
baccalaureate degree from an institution accredited by a recognized
accrediting agency or a degree from a foreign institution equivalent to a
baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution. The institution shall
follow standard practice in assessing the credentials of students who
graduated from foreign institutions.
(6) 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. Each faculty member teaching in an
academic associate or baccalaureate level degree program shall have at least
a master's degree from an institution accredited by a recognized agency or a
regional accrediting agency with at least 18 graduate semester credit hours
in the discipline being taught. Furthermore, at least 25% of coursework in an
academic associate or baccalaureate level major shall be taught by faculty
members holding doctorates, or other terminal degrees, in the discipline being
taught from institutions accredited by a recognized agency or a regional
accrediting agency. Each faculty member teaching technical or vocational
courses in a vocational associate degree program shall have at least an
associate degree in the discipline being taught from an institution accredited
by a recognized agency or a regional accrediting agency and at least three
years of direct or closely related experience in the discipline being taught.
Each faculty member teaching general education courses in a vocational
associate degree program shall meet the requirements for academic associate
faculty listed above. Graduate level degree programs shall be taught by
faculty holding doctorates, or other terminal degrees, in the discipline being
taught from institutions accredited by a recognized agency or a regional
(7) Faculty Size. There shall be a sufficient number of full-time
teaching faculty resident and accessible 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 full-
time faculty member in each program. At the graduate level, there shall be
at least four full-time faculty members in each program.
(8) Curriculum. The quality, content, and sequence of each
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. Substantially all of the courses in the areas of
specialization required for each degree program shall be offered in
organized classes by the institution, provided such courses are appropriate
to the level of the institution.
(9) General Education. Each associate or baccalaureate degree
program shall contain a general education component consisting of at least
25% of the total hours offered for the program. This component shall be drawn
from each of the following areas: Humanities and Fine Arts, Social and
Behavioral Sciences, and Natural Sciences and Mathematics. It shall include
courses to develop skills in written and oral communication and in basic
computer instruction. Courses designed to correct deficiencies, remedial
courses for associate and baccalaureate programs and leveling courses for
graduate programs, may not count toward course requirements for the degree.
The applicant institution may arrange for all or part of the general education
component to be taught by another institution with the following provisions:
the applicant institution's faculty shall design the general education
requirement, there shall be a written agreement between the institutions to
provide the general education component, at least one-half of the courses
shall be offered in organized classes, and the providing institution shall
be accredited by a recognized accrediting agency.
(10) Credit for Prior Learning. An institution awarding collegiate
credit for prior learning obtained outside a formal degree-granting
institution shall establish and adhere to a systematic method for evaluating
that prior learning, shall award credit only in course content which falls
within the authorized degree programs of the institution, in an appropriate
manner shall relate the credit to the student's current educational goals,
and shall subject the institution's process and procedures for evaluating
prior learning to ongoing review and evaluation by the institution's teaching
faculty. Recognized evaluative examinations such as the advanced placement
program or the college level examination program may be used. No more than
15 semester credit hours or 23 quarter credit hours in a student's associate
or baccalaurreate degree program may be based on validated prior learning.
No graduate credit for prior learning may be awarded. In no instance may
credit be awarded for life experience per se or merely for years of service
in a position or job.
(11) Library. The institution shall have in its possession or direct
control and readily available to its students and faculty a sufficient quality
and variety of library holdings to support adequately its own curriculum.
The holdings shall be catalogued and be readily accessible to students and
faculty. The institution shall have adequate library facilities for the
library holdings, space for study, and work space for the librarian and
The librarian shall hold a graduate degree in library science from an
institution accredited by a recognized accrediting agency or a regional
accrediting agency. Arrangements for the use of library materials made with
other libraries shall be formalized in writing, the collection shall be
validated by the institution to be appropriate for the programs being offered,
records of usage by the students shall be kept, and the library shall be
reasonably accessible to the students and faculty.
(12) Facilities. The institution shall have adequate space, equipment,
and instructional materials to provide education of good quality.
(13) 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 so that, together with tuition
and fees, it would be able to complete its educational obligations to
currently enrolled students if it were unable to admit any new students.
(14) 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
shall be in accordance with the guidelines of the National Association of
College and University Business Officers as set forth in College and
University Business Administration, Fifth 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 accountant.
(15) Academic Freedom and Faculty Security. The institution shall
adopt 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 published in a faculty
handbook and supplied to all faculty. The specific terms and conditions of
employment of each faculty member shall be clearly described in a written
document given to that faculty member and a copy retained by the institution.
(16) Academic Records. Adequate records shall be securely maintained
by the institution to show attendance, progress, or grades, and to assure
that satisfactory guidelines are followed relating to attendance, progress,
and performance. Two copies of said records shall be maintained in secure
places. Transcripts shall be issued upon the request of the students.
(17) Catalog. The institution shall provide students and other
interested persons with a catalog or brochure containing information
describing the purpose, length, and objectives of the programs offered by
the institution; schedule of tuition, fees, and all other charges and
expenses necessary for completion of the course of study; cancellation and
refund policies; and such other material facts concerning the institution
and the program or course of instruction as are reasonably likely to affect
the decision of the student to enroll therein. Any disclosures specified
by the board or defined in the rules shall be included. This information
shall be provided to prospective students prior to enrollment.
(18) Refund Policy. The institution shall publish and adhere to
and equitable cancellation and refund policy.
(19) Credentials. Upon completion, the student shall be given
appropriate educational credentials by the institution indicating that the
program undertaken has been satisfactorily completed.
(20) Academic Advising and Counseling. The institution shall provide
an effective program of academic advising for all students enrolled. The
program shall include orientation to the academic program, academic and
personal counseling, career information and planning, placement assistance,
and testing services.
(21) Student Handbook. A handbook listing the student's rights and
responsibilities shall be published and supplied to the student upon
enrollment in the institution. The institution shall establish a clear and
fair policy regarding due process in disciplinary matters and publish it in
(22) Health Services. The institution shall provide an effective
program of health services and education reflecting the needs of the
(23) Housing. The student housing owned, maintained, or approved
by the institution, if any, shall be appropriate, safe, and adequate.
(24) Legal Compliance. The institution shall be maintained and
operated in compliance with all ordinances and laws, including rules and
regulations adopted pursuant thereto.
(25) Open Representation of Activities. Neither the institution
agents shall engage in advertising, recruiting, sales, collection, financial
credit, or other practices of any type which are false, deceptive, misleading,