Initial Applicants

Please see below for all of the steps involved in completing the initial application process. You may begin these steps at any time by clicking on the link above.

ACISC™ works with applicant institutions to help them meet ACISC™ standards and attain an initial accreditation status. There is no pre-candidacy or candidacy status with ACISC™. The entire process can take 9-18 months, depending upon the ability of the institution to demonstrate its compliance with ACISC™ standards.

The chief on-site administrators of the main campus and all branches must attend an ACISC Initial Accreditation Workshop before an Initial Resource Visit and within 18 months prior to the completion of the Self-Study. The Initial Accreditation Workshop provides valuable guidance to the Self-Study process.

To begin the process, the following steps will need to be completed:


Institution: Complete the Minimum Eligibility Self-Assessment (MESA) Checklist

The main and each branch campus must meet the minimum standards of eligibility listed on the MESA Checklist in order for the institution to be able to proceed with the initial accreditation process. Once you have completed and submitted the checklist, ACISC™ will review it and notify you as to your eligibility to proceed with the initial registration.



Institution: Register main and all branches, including learning sites

If the minimum eligibility requirements are met, the link to register will be sent directly to the person who completed the MESA Checklist above. Critical institutional, campus (main, branch(es), and learning sites), and program information, which should be readily available, must be provided during the registration process. There is no fee for the institutional registration.


Institution: Complete an account and submit your application for preliminary review

Create an Account link at the bottom of the ACISC™ website to create individual accounts for the chief executive officer and on-site administrators.


ACISC™: Review submitted documentation

ACISC™ will review the information submitted by the initial applicant through the online process.
If the initial applicant meets the minimum standards of eligibility and ACISC™’s preliminary review indicates that the institution may be a good fit, the institution will be formally invited to submit an Initial Grant of Accreditation Application.


Institution: Complete the Initial Grant of Accreditation Application (Phase IA uploads)

Upon receiving an invitation to apply, the institution may log in, using the username and password created during the registration, and begin uploading the following required documents to their application to complete the first phase:

  • State/Governmental Authorization to Operate or Evidence of Acceptance (International Institutions ONLY)

  • Audited Financials Statement for the Most Recent Fiscal Year

    • Ownership Disclosure (select the form based on your ownership structure)
      • Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)

      • Limited Partnership with Corporate General Partner

      • Not for Profit Corporation

      • Privately Held

      • Publicly Traded Corporation

The institution will also be given initial applicant access to the ACISC™ Placement Verification Program (PVP) to begin verifying placement information for graduates within the last six months. PVP-verified data will be needed to complete the Initial Campus Accountability Report (ICAR), which will be required for Phase II of the application.

Once these documents have been uploaded and the application fee has been submitted, ACISC™ will begin to review the application.


ACISC™: Official application review

ACISC™ will review the submitted documents and communicate with the primary contact if additional information or documents are needed. Audited financials will be analyzed by ACISC™ for a demonstration of financial stability and institutional capacity to support the education programs. See Section 3-1-204 of the Accreditation Criteria.


Institution: Initial Resource Visit preparation (Phase IB uploads)

Once the official review has been successfully completed, the application will be move to Phase IB , at which point the applicant can continue uploading the following documents to the application:

  •  Official Institutional Catalog

  •  Draft Campus Effectiveness Plan (CEP)

  •  Certificate of Attendance at Initial Accreditation Workshop


ACISC™ Schedule an Initial Resource Visit

Once Phase IB documents have been submitted and reviewed, ACISC™ will contact the institution to schedule an Initial Resource Visit. The function of this visit is to verify the application, visit with key individuals on campus, examine a sample of the records, and assess the general readiness of the institution to proceed with its application for accreditation and host a full on-site team visit. This visit is not intended to check the institution’s compliance with all ACISC™ standards.


Institution: Submit payment for the Initial Resource Visit and host ACISC™ for visit

Payment for the Initial Resource Visit is made through the ACISC™ Member Center. The visit usually takes one day and is conducted by one ACISC™ staff member. However, at ACISC™' discretion, the visit may take longer and include more than one team member. ACISC™ will advise the institution regarding its preparation for this visit.


ACISC™: Submit Initial Resource Visit report response (if applicable)

At the discretion of ACISC™ staff, a response to the Initial Resource Visit report may be required prior to approving the continuation of the application process. The report will indicate the response due date, after which review, the institution will be notified of its eligibility to proceed.

It is also at ACISC™' discretion to determine if the institution needs a significant amount of time to demonstrate general compliance with ACISC™ expectations and standards. This may necessitate that the application be placed on hold until a thorough response is received and/or a subsequent visit conducted, as determined.


Institution: Initial Grant of Accreditation visit preparation (Phase II uploads)

The institution will be required to submit the following documents as part of Phase II of the accreditation process:

  • Initial Self-Study Narrative

  • Explanation of the Self-Study Process

  • Future Plans

  • Revised Campus Effectiveness Plan (CEP)

  • Revised Institutional Catalog

  • Academic Credit Analysis and Supplement (for Distance Education Programs)

  • Inventory of Equipment

  • Faculty and Administrative Staff Summary Form

  • Designated Delegate Form*

  • Submission of Initial Campus Accountability Report (through Portal)


ACISC™ and Institution: Schedule the Initial Grant of Accreditation visit

ACISC™ schedules the dates for the team visit in coordination with the institution. All Self-Study materials (as outlined above) must be successfully uploaded prior to the scheduling of the visit. The assigned ACISC™ staff coordinator will contact the institution within a month of the travel cycle for visit scheduling.


Institution: Submit payment for the Initial Grant of Accreditation visit.

ACISC™ will generate and send an invoice for the Initial Grant of Accreditation visit at least three weeks prior to the visit. This must be paid within 10 days before the scheduled review, or the visit will be postponed or cancelled.


ACISC™: Onsite review and team report are completed, institutional response

The institution must correct and address all findings and concerns expressed in the team report. The assigned staff coordinator is available to provide assistance as needed.


ACISC™: Intermediate Review Committee (IRC)

All materials pertaining to the institution's application, visit reports, and the institutional response will be reviewed by the IRC approximately 2-3 weeks prior to the Council's scheduled meeting. The IRC's recommendation will be submitted to the Council for consideration.


ACISC™ Council action

The Council will consider the institution's application, any additional information pertinent to its review, and the recommendation of the IRC to inform its decision on the institution's Initial Grant of Accreditation.

Possible actions include:

  • Award an Initial Grant of Accreditation for a specified period of time;

  • Defer action on the application until the next meeting, pending receipt of additional information from the institution; or

  • Deny the application for initial accreditation.

Actions of the Council will be sent in writing within 30 days.