ITEM 118-104-R0103



TO:                   Board of Regents


FROM:              LeRoy H. Schramm

                        Chief Legal Counsel


RE:                   Revisions to Policy 320.1


DATE:              January 16-17, 2003

Montana Statutes (20-25-107 MCA) mandate that any college or university that wishes to operate in this state must be accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the Board of Regents.  Another section (15-30-163 MCA) allows tax deductible contributions to the endowment funds of foundations established by Montana colleges or universities accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the Regents.  In Policy 320.1 the Regents designated which accrediting agencies it recognized for purposes of these statutes.


The enforcement of 20-25-107 MCA rests with the Consumer Fraud Division of the Department of Administration and they have actively sought to keep unaccredited schools from offering academic degrees in Montana.  The Division recently suggested that its enforcement efforts would be aided if the Regents clarified Policy 320.1 in three ways.  They asked that the Board (1) make clear that schools that are “candidates for accreditation” may properly operate within the state; (2) define what kinds of degree offerings require accreditation under the statute; and (3) explicitly state that accreditation is the sole route to approval and that the Regents will not undertake independent evaluations of schools which seek to operate within the state.  The amendments of Item 118-104-R0103 do these three things.