.03 Statutory Authority of the Commission Regarding Academic Program Review, Approval, and Recommendation.

A. The Commission shall review program proposals for public institutions, independent institutions, and private for-profit institutions of higher education.

B. For public institutions, the Commission shall review and approve or disapprove program proposals for:

(1) New programs; and

(2) Substantial modifications.

C. For independent institutions and private for-profit institutions, the Commission shall review and recommend or not recommend implementation of program proposals for:

(1) New programs; and

(2) Substantial modifications.

D. An institution shall submit a program proposal for a new program to establish:

(1) A program leading to a formal award in a subject area in which the award is not presently authorized;

(2) A program in a subject area in which a formal award is offered at a different degree level (for example, an institution awards a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in chemistry and wishes to award a Master of Science (M.S.) in chemistry, or an institution wishes to offer an associate degree in addiction counseling, but currently offers only a lower-division certificate in addiction counseling);

(3) A new undergraduate major by combining course work offered in two or more existing programs (for example, an institution wishes to offer a program in biochemistry by permitting students to combine course work offered in its current programs in biology and in chemistry); or

(4) A formal award of a different type in a subject matter area in which another formal award at the same level is already offered (for example, an institution awards the Master of Science in Management (M.S.) and wishes to offer a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), or an institution awards an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) and wishes to offer an Associate of Arts (A.A.) or Associate of Science (A.S.)).

E. An institution shall submit a program proposal for a substantial modification to:

(1) Change more than 33 percent of an existing program’s course work;

(2) Offer an existing program as an off-campus program;

(3) Establish a new area of concentration within an existing program (for example, an institution offers a program in psychology and wishes to add a new area of concentration in employee assistance training, or an institution offers a program in mental health and wishes to offer a new area of concentration in addiction counseling); or

(4) Establish a new program title within an approved program (for example, an institution offers a program in human resources and wishes to offer a program in human resources management).

F. Program Review Process.

(1) If the Commission fails to act on a program proposal within 60 days after the submission of the program proposal to the Commission, the program is officially approved without any further action of the Commission.

(2) If the Commission disapproves or does not recommend a proposal, the Commission shall provide to the institution's governing board a written explanation of the reasons for the disapproval or non-recommendation.

(3) After revising a proposal to address the Commission's reasons for disapproval or non-recommendation, the governing body may resubmit the revised proposal to the Commission in accordance with the schedule in Regulation .27 of this chapter, thereby triggering a new 60-day time frame for Commission action.

G. Implementation of Programs.

(1) A public institution may not implement a program without the prior approval of the Commission.

(2) Implementation of Program by Independent Institution.

(a) If an independent institution has implemented a new program or a substantial modification contrary to the non-recommendation of the Commission that was based on a finding of unreasonable duplication, the Commission may recommend that the General Assembly reduce the institution's appropriation by the amount of aid associated with the full-time equivalent enrollment in that program.

(b) The provision in §G(2)(a) of this regulation does not preclude the independent institution from implementing the new program or substantial modification.

(c) If the General Assembly reduces program funding, the affected independent institution may apply annually to the Commission for reconsideration of the program review decision.

(3) A private for-profit institution may implement a program notwithstanding the non-recommendation of the Commission.

(4) If an independent institution or a private for-profit institution implements a program despite a recommendation from the Commission that the program not be implemented, the institution shall notify both prospective students of the program and enrolled students in the program that the program has not been recommended for implementation by the Commission.

H. Program Suspension.

(1) An institution may temporarily suspend a program and examine its future direction.

(2) During a period of program suspension, an institution has the opportunity to:

(a) Study its future commitment to a particular field of study; and

(b) Determine whether the program should be:

(i) Maintained in present form;

(ii) Consolidated with other program offerings; or

(iii) Discontinued.

(3) The suspension of a program relieves an institution from having to submit a program proposal to the Commission to reactivate a discontinued program.

(4) Criteria and Process for Program Suspension.

(a) A program may be suspended for a period of time not to exceed 3 years.

(b) The catalog and other official publications shall indicate the official status of the program.

(c) New students may not be admitted into a program during the period of suspension.

(d) Currently enrolled students shall be given the opportunity to satisfy degree requirements.

(e) Before suspending a program, the institution shall notify the Secretary in writing.

(f) After a 3-year period, the institution shall either discontinue or reactivate the program and notify the Secretary in writing.

I. The Commission does not review a program proposed for discontinuance by an institution. However, an institution shall provide written notice to the Commission in advance of a program’s discontinuance.