Tag Archives: Middle States

The PRR: Rising MSCHE Standard 3 Citations


In 2016, nearly two-thirds of follow-up requests to submitted Periodic Review Reports cited MSCHE Standard 3 (Institutional Resources). That was dramatically higher than the five-year moving average of 36%. Moreover, of the fifteen institutions receiving follow-up requests related to Standard 3, 60% had Standard 3-related follow-up requests to their prior Self-Study Report.

That raises a basic question: If institutions suffer from conditions that result in Standard 3-related follow-up reporting, how many actually overcome those challenges during their following re-accreditation event. In the new accreditation cycle, one would be dealing with the Self-Study Report and the Mid-Point Review, a period of four years. The Periodic Review Report is typically due five years after the Self-Study Report.

To address the question, I examined all the institutions that submitted Self-Study Reports in the 2008-11 period and received a follow-up request for Standard 3. I then examined the outcome for the Periodic Review Report. I excluded the three institutions that were closed. There were 41 institutions that met those criteria. Nearly three-quarters of those institutions were private institutions.

The statistics were as follows:


A degree of caution is required, as the fiscally-distressed University of Puerto Rico system accounted for 45% of the public sample and 67% of the public Standard 3 citations. Excluding University of Puerto Rico system institutions (as Puerto Rico is facing a unique structural macroeconomic and fiscal challenge), two-thirds of the public institutions received no follow-up requests related to Standard 3. That was similar to the pool of private institutions.

In addition, Special Focus institutions were more likely than others to face chronic Standard 3-related issues. Institutions with adjusted enrollment of fewer than 500 students, particularly those with fewer than 250 students, received a higher share of the Standard 3-related citations both in their Self-Study Report and Periodic Review Report.