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NEW DEGREE Authority

Independent institutions of higher education (for-profit, non-profit and out-of-state institutions seeking to operate in Massachusetts) seeking new degree authority or name changes after 1943 must submit a petition to the Board of Higher Education for new or initial authority.

Application Process

Independent institutions must submit a proposal, necessary fee, and petition to the Board of Higher Education. In addition, the Articles of Amendment/Organization or Foreign Corporation Certificate must also be filed be with the Secretary of the Commonwealth, which is then referred to the Board of Higher Education for investigation of the institution, its faculty, equipment, courses of study, financial organization, leadership, and other relevant facts.

Institutions in Good Standing

For independent institutions accredited in good standing by the Commission of Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE) of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), "new earned degree authority" shall be interpreted as the authority to offer earned degrees within a degree category and level. Once Board of Higher Education approval has been received for a minimum of two academic programs within a degree category and level, an institution need only send a letter of notification along with a completed to the Chancellor of the Board of Higher Education.

While not required under the interpretation, eligible institutions are strongly advised to file articles with the Secretary of the Commonwealth to record the degree in the institution’s charter and to receive official endorsement by the Board of Higher Education.

Online/Hybrid Programs

Out-of-state institutions interested in offering online/hybrid programs in Massachusetts, please start with the DHEs new questionnaire, found here.

By completing the questionnaire, you will be provided with information about whether or not the institutions degree program requires approval, how to apply for approval, and who to contact at the Department if you should require additional information.

Related Links
NEASC-accredited institutions Offsite link


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