SACSCOC Reaffirmation and the Quality Enhancement Plan

UMW’s Accreditation Reaffirmed!

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) is a private, nonprofit, voluntary organization founded in 1895 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Association accredits higher education degree-granting institutions.

The SACSCOC bases its accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions and entities on requirements in the Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement. These requirements apply to all institutional programs and services, wherever located or however delivered. SACSCOC applies the requirements of its Principles to all applicant, candidate, and member institutions, regardless of the type of institution: private for-profit, private not-for-profit, or public.

The University of Mary Washington was first accredited in 1930, and its accreditation was last reaffirmed in 2013. The reaffirmation of accreditation review involved compilation of two separate documents: a Compliance Certification and a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP).

UMW’s next review by SACSCOC was the Fifth-Year Year Interim Report, submitted in March 2019. The Fifth-Year review process consists of several components and required steps. Fifth-Year Interim Reports were reviewed in June 2019 by a Committee of evaluators convened by SACSCOC, who conduct a review similar to that occurring at the time of reaffirmation. The review committee accepted our responses as presented on 22 of the 24 standards and requested that UMW submit a referral report on just two standards (our referral report is due on April 1, 2020):

*Standard 13.6 (Federal and state responsibilities) – UMW’s 2017 audit report noted a deficiency in reporting student enrollment status to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). We were asked to provide a copy of the 2018 audit, which was not available at the time we had to submit the Fifth-Year Interim Report, to document that the Auditor of Public Accounts in the Commonwealth of Virginia accepted our correction and deemed that it satisfied the audit concern.

*Standard 13.7 (Physical resources) – Because we reported the unexpected closures of Willard, Arrington, and Alvey halls due to a variety of maintenance conditions, we were asked to provide evidence that we have developed a deferred maintenance program and that we will be able to provide appropriate facilities in the future.

In September 2020, UMW was notified that the responses to the two referral reports were accepted but a new issue was identified. The 2018 audit report stated that the the institution “is not performing timely information technology (IT) security audits on its sensitive IT systems in accordance with the Commonwealth’s IT Security Audit Standard, SEC 502 (IT Audit Standard).” The SACSCOC Board of Trustees requested a monitoring report, stating that: “The institution should provide externally verified evidence that the finding –‘Conduct Information technology security audits in sensitive systems’ – has been remedied.” This report. is due by April 1, 2021.

The next reaffirmation would occur in 2023, with all materials submitted in September 2022 and reviewed from that point through the on-site visit in April of 2023.