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Frequently Asked Questions

Offering Programs in Massachusetts

What is the process to start a college or university in Massachusetts?
Institutions wishing to offer classes for college credit or award degrees should refer to 610 CMR, Degree Granting Regulations for Institutions of Higher Education. (.PDF)

How does an out-of-state institution offer classes for college level credit in Massachusetts?
Out-of-state institutions wishing to offer courses for credit in the Commonwealth should refer to 610 CMR, Degree Granting Regulations for Institutions of Higher Education (.PDF) and pay particular attention to section 2.07 which applies to out-of-state institutions operating in the Commonwealth.


How does the Board of Higher Education license institutions and/or programs?
The Board of Higher Education does not license institutions. Rather, institutions are granted degree-granting authority from the Board of Higher Education in accordance with Massachsuetts General Laws and the procedures set forth in 610 CMR, Degree Granting Regulations for Institutions of Higher Education. (.PDF)

How long are licenses valid?
The authority to offer degrees does not expire.


What is accreditation?
Accreditation is a process to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality. Accrediting agencies, which are private educational associations of regional or national scope, develop evaluation criteria and conduct peer evaluations to assess whether or not those criteria are met. Institutions and/or programs that request an agency's evaluation and that meet an agency's criteria are then "accredited" by that agency. The U.S. Department of Education maintains a database of accredited postsecondary institutions and programs.

Which organizations accredit programs?
The Board of Higher Education in Massachusetts does not accredit programs or institutions. Accreditation of institutions is done by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. In addition, there are specialized accrediting bodies for certain programs of study to ensure that programs meet necessary quality standards. More information on accreditation, including national and specialized accrediting bodies can be found on the U.S. Department of Education's website and on the Council for Higher Education Accreditation's website.


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