Why Cooley

Cooley's Accreditation practice professionals have extensive experience in working for and with the national, regional and programmatic accrediting agencies that oversee the quality assurance and compliance activities of institutions of higher education.  Through this experience, we are able to provide proactive and strategic advice to maximize institutional effectiveness for the purpose of peer review and institutional improvement.  The Cooley team offers domestic and international colleges, universities, education companies, quality assurance organizations, and private equity clients an array of services related to accreditation issues, as well as maintain compliance with higher education and funding requirements.

Beyond traditional legal representation

The Accreditation practice enables Cooley to provide services that exceed those traditionally provided by law firms. Cooley lawyers represent colleges and universities before administrative panels facing sanction or adverse actions and if necessary, to seek legal recourse to retain accredited status. In fact, Cooley lawyers have represented institutions, in person and in writing, before the ABA, ACCET, ACEN (formerly NLNAC), ACCSC, ACICS, CEA (English language preparation), COE, DEAC, HLC, LCME, MSCHE, NACCAS, NEASC, SACS and WASC – to name a few – and successfully secured favorable rulings in favor of postsecondary institutions in federal courts.

Cooley also has extensive experience in assisting institutions to obtain initial accreditation and maintain that status through periodic reaffirmation reviews and in the face of structural, financial or operational changes. We perform due diligence in the complex arena of transactions involving the sale or acquisition of institutions and aid international institutions in the navigation of the complexities of the US system of accreditation. Cooley also represents a number of accrediting organizations and provides assistance in ensuring that their policies and procedures are consistent with contemporary legal standards.

The Cooley Accreditation practice understands accreditors and colleges from the inside out, and the primary objective is to provide institutions with effective advice and support to allow institutions to focus on providing quality educational programs and services.

Accreditation Services

  • Advise on institutional partnerships and joint ventures
  • Advise governing boards and conduct reviews/investigations
  • Assist international and domestic institutions seeking accreditation
  • Assist with the preparation of self-studies
  • Conduct mock accreditation visits
  • Consult on education policy and regulatory issues
  • Coordinate substantive change proposals
  • Deliver accreditation workshops for faculty and administrators
  • Develop effective and compliant governance structures
  • Establish branch campuses, additional locations and other off-campus instructional sites
  • Help prepare responses to accreditor inquiries and evaluation visits
  • Prepare for regional, national and specialized accreditation reviews and evaluations
  • Represent colleges and universities facing adverse actions or sanctions
  • Provide staff training on accreditation and higher education expectations
  • Review policy, procedural and quality assurance processes for accrediting organizations