Higher Learning Commission Accreditation Review

Appendix B: Federal Compliance Program

I. Credits, Program Length and Tuition
II. Student Complaints
III. Transfer Policies
IV. Verification of Student Identity
V. Title IV Program and Related Responsibilities
VI. Institutional Disclosures and Advertising and Recruitment Materials
VII. Relationship with other Accrediting Agencies, State Regulatory Bodies and Professional Memberships
VIII. Public Notification of Comprehensive Evaluation Visit


I. Credits, Program Length and Tuition



A. Credits and Program Length

UNI courses offered for credit are based on semester hours.  Semesters are 16 weeks long, including one week for final exams.  Each credit hour is equivalent to three fifty minute classes, two 75 minute classes, or one 150 minute class, with two to three hours of preparation expected for each class period.  During summer sessions, class lengths are proportionately increased.  The length of all programs at UNI is in line with common practice at universities in the United States.  Program lengths vary from 120 hours for the Bachelor of Arts degree, to 126 hours for the Bachelor of Science degree, and 130 for the Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Music degrees.[1]


B. Tuition

Full-time tuition and fees are available on the University Web site.[2]  Full-time undergraduate tuition information is also available on UNI’s College Portrait web site.[3]  A detailed breakdown of tuition and fees per credit hour is available on the Registrar’s website.[4]  There are four basic types of tuition for students attending classes on campus: undergraduate in-state, undergraduate out-of-state, graduate in-state, and graduate out-of-state.  Distance education courses offered through Continuing Education and Special Programs, may have a lower tuition rate.[5]


The College of Business Administration at UNI charges supplemental tuition for juniors, seniors and graduate students.[6]  The primary justification for this supplemental tuition is the higher faculty costs for delivering business programs.  In the market for business faculty, demand exceeds supply.  The result is a very competitive "seller's" market in which faculty starting salaries have been increasing steadily.  What is more, AACSB accredited schools face additional pressure as they have to choose from a subset of the supply pool, limiting their recruiting to faculty who satisfy AACSB's academic qualification standards.  Consequently starting salaries for new PhDs are now within the $95K-125K range, as published in the latest AACSB salary survey.  This is considerably higher than what other programs on our campus have to pay to hire new faculty.  Replacement cost for retiring faculty is equally unfavorable for the business school.  This persistently adverse market condition, and the resultant starting salaries that are over 50% higher than the average for the rest of the campus, were the primary considerations when President Allen authorized the business school to submit a supplemental tuition proposal to the Iowa Board of Regents.  The Board of Regents subsequently approved the proposal.  The other two Regent business schools have implemented a similar supplemental tuition model.

The secondary justification for supplemental tuition is to provide a consistent and reliable source of funding for a new professional preparedness program for all students in the College of Business Administration.  Most UNI students come from small Iowa towns, without much professional exposure, and the intent is to minimize the adverse impact of that background on our students' employment prospects.  The Professional Readiness Program runs parallel to the academic program in the business school and provides 15 hours of professional training to every business student each year, enabling them to hit the ground running as professionals when they are employed.  The Program is unique to the business school and its substantial cost is covered by the supplemental tuition revenues.


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II. Student Complaints

The Office of Compliance and Equity Management (OCEM) oversees and monitors University compliance with federal and state laws and regulations in the areas of civil rights in employment and education, such as Titles VII and IX of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Iowa Civil Rights Act.  The OCEM also reviews policies in these areas to ensure full compliance and serves as a liaison to external agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Iowa Civil Rights Commission.[7]


Students are governed by both an Academic Ethics/Discipline Policy[8] and a Student Conduct Code.[9]  Students are expected to observe the commonly accepted standards of academic honesty and integrity, which are further described in the policy.   Policies and procedures are in place for both undergraduate (12.02)[10] and graduate (12.01)[11] student grievances.  A comprehensive review of academic ethics is currently underway by a committee of faculty, staff, students, and administrators under the direction of the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs.


The Student Conduct Code is administered by the Dean of Students and provides for a hearing procedure to insure student rights are protected.  The conduct code groups offenses by which values have been contravened (honesty, respect, or responsibility) and covers non-academic settings and occurrences.  The Office of the Vice-President of Student Affairs maintains a student complaint log along with other evidence of compliance with University policies and procedures.  The Office emphasizes timely responses and follow-ups to complaints and grievances.  The Student Handbook[12] outlines student rights in a variety of areas, including in the classroom, access to records, and the prevention of harassment and discrimination.  The Intercollegiate Athletics Advisory Council oversees the academic progress of student athletes and monitors compliance with NCAA rules and guidelines.[13]


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III. Transfer Policies

UNI transfer credit policy appears on page 13 of the UNI 2008-2010 catalog, it is listed on the admissions web site, under “Transfer Credit FAQ”[14] and also in the Transfer Guide, UNI’s primary transfer recruitment publication.


In addition, UNI’s transfer equivalencies are located on the admissions web site, under: “Transfer Course Equivalency List.”[15]  UNI also has transfer equivalencies on its Transfer Plan-IT web site, a service to assist students in planning their transfer.[16]  Transfer Plan-IT is incorporated in the state of Iowa planning site.[17]  The Transfer in Iowa site is marketed to secondary schools and community colleges throughout Iowa as a collaborative initiative of the three Regents universities in conjunction with the Board of Regents and the Iowa Department of Education to promote transfer planning throughout the state.


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IV. Verification of Student Identity

UNI has policies for the verification of student identity that include the following: student ID/user ID password or passphrase for on-line coursework; physical proctoring for exams, by using test centers in various off-campus locations; in-person presentations or other interactions including voice recognition, and the use of writing-style software (Turnitin.com) to detect plagiarism.[18] 


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V. Title IV Program and Related Responsibilities



A. General Program Responsibilities

The University of Northern participates in a yearly Single Audit Report of the State of Iowa.[19]  The report, which is required by law, covers the disbursement of federal funds by all state agencies and includes a review of internal controls and compliance with federal laws and regulations.  There has been no finding that limits, suspends, or terminates any programs. There have been no fines, letters of credit or heightened monitoring.  The yearly audit is conducted by the Office of Auditor of State.


In addition the University has created an inventory of its federal and state reporting and disclosure requirements.  This database identifies the report or disclosure due date, the person responsible for the report, and a copy of the most recent report.[20]


B. Financial Responsibility Requirements

(see Composite Financial Index, Appendix C;  #7)


C. Student Loan Default Rates 

The official default rates as calculated by the U.S. Department of Education for the University of Northern Iowa for 2007, 2006, 2005 are as follows: 1.9%, 1.8% and 1.3% respectively. The national default rate for four year public universities is 4.3%, 3.4% and 3.0% respectively. The University of Northern Iowa’s default rates have successfully stayed lower than similar institutions.[21]


D. Campus Crime Information and Related Disclosure of Consumer Information

The Department of Public Safety coordinates with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies in ensuring that criminal laws are followed on campus.  The office informs the campus on issues including sexual assault, drug abuse, and crime prevention.[22]  It also makes annual campus crime statistics available on the Department of Public Safety web site.[23] 


E. Satisfactory Academic Progress and Attendance Policies

There is a clear procedure on academic progress outlined in the UNI 2008-2010 Catalog.  If a student’s cumulative grade point average drops below 2.0, the student will be placed on academic warning, academic probation or academic suspension, depending on how far below 2.0 her/his GPA is.  If a student is suspended, he or she may apply for readmission to the University after one year.  If a student is suspended twice, it is considered permanent.[24]


The University also has additional guidelines on standards of academic progress for financial aid eligibility, which are posted on the UNI Financial Aid web site.[25]


F. Contractual Relationships

UNI has no contractual relationships that fall under this policy.


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VI. Institutional Disclosures and Advertising and Recruitment Materials

The University’s accreditation by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and its programmatic accreditations are listed in the UNI 2008-2010 Catalog.  The Higher Learning Commission accreditation is also on the University web site, and is listed in the International Student Graduate and Undergraduate informational brochure.[26]


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VII. Relationship with other Accrediting Agencies, State Regulatory Bodies and Professional Memberships

The University of Northern Iowa is also a member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), the Council of Graduate Schools in the United States, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).[27] 


UNI’s preparation programs leading to licensure for various education personnel, including teachers, school administrators (principals and superintendents), school psychologists, school counselors, and speech-language pathologists, are all approved by the Iowa State Board of Education which works with the Iowa Department of Education.[28]


In addition, the following areas in the University have specialized accreditations and approvals:

  • Music Department - accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. 
  • Speech-Language Pathology program - accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. 
  • B.A. and Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) program - accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. 
  • B.S. in Chemistry and Biochemistry - accredited by the American Chemical Society.
  • Undergraduate programs in Construction Management, Graphic Communications, Manufacturing Technology, and Technology Management - accredited by the National Association of Industrial Technology (NAIT).
  • College of Business Administration - accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International).
  • Real Estate Education program - accredited by the Society of Accredited Real Estate Programs.
  • Leisure/Recreation Program Delivery and Therapeutic Recreation - accredited by the National Recreation and Park Association Council on Accreditation.
  • B.A. in Athletic Training major - accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
  • Mental Health Counseling (M.A.) and School Counseling (M.A.E.) programs in the Department of Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Postsecondary Education - accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
  • The University Museums - accredited by the American Association of Museums.[29]
  • Combined program (MAE and Ed.S.) - designed in alignment with the training standards of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and fully approved by NASP.[30]
  • Undergraduate program in Family Services - approved as a Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) program by the National Council on Family Relations.[31]
  • Counseling Center - accredited by the International Association of Counseling Services, Inc.[32]
  • Student Health Center - accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC/Accreditation Association).[33]
  • National Ag-Based Lubricants Center - accredited by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).[34]

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VIII. Public Notification of Comprehensive Evaluation Visit

The University has determined to notify the public of the upcoming accreditation visit and invite third party comment via the local newspaper, the Cedar Falls/Waterloo Courier, the campus newspaper, The Northern Iowan, and the Alumni publication, Northern Iowa Today.  It will also provide notice on the campus web site with a link to the Higher Learning Commission’s page for third party comment.  It will use the template available on the Higher Learning Commission’s web site as a model for these announcements. 


[2] http://www.uni.edu/tuition/


[7] http://www.uni.edu/equity/


[10] http://www.uni.edu/president/policies/1202.shtml


[11] http://www.uni.edu/president/policies/1201.shtml


[12] http://www.uni.edu/studentaffairs/deanofstudents/handbook/


[15] http://www.uni.edu/admissions/transfer/


[16] https://access.uni.edu/cgi-bin/transfer/transferPlanIt.cgi

[18] “Federal Compliance,” in University of Northern Iowa, 2010 Annual Institutional Update for the Higher Learning Commission. 

[19] http://auditor.iowa.gov/specials/1060-8990-A000.pdf; and http://auditor.iowa.gov/index.html


[20] http://www.ir.uni.edu/dbWeb/govrel/search.cfm?s=topic (Cat ID required)


[23] http://www.vpaf.uni.edu/pubsaf/crime_stats/clery.shtml


[24] http://www.uni.edu/catalog/undergraduate-academic-warning-probation-and-suspension


[25] http://www.uni.edu/finaid/yellow/academicprogressstandards.pdf


[26] http://www.uni.edu/catalog/general-information; http://www.uni.edu/accreditation/; International Student Graduate and Undergraduate informational brochure, p. 4.

[28] http://www.iowa.gov/educate/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1667&Itemid=2474; and Iowa Administrative Code, Chapter 79 Standards for Practitioner Preparation Programs.

[29] http://www.uni.edu/accreditation/resource-center/accreditation-reports


[30] http://www.uni.edu/coe/epf/HTML/Student%20handbook.pdf, p.7-8


[31] http://www.uni.edu/dtgfs/family/index.htm


[32] http://www.uni.edu/accreditation/sites/default/files/Counseling%20Center%20Accreditation.pdf

[33] http://www.uni.edu/accreditation/sites/default/files/Student%20Health%20Services%20Accreditation.pdf