ABFSE Review of Standards

American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE) maintains a policy to review the standards used to accredit the US college and university programs teaching funeral service/mortuary science every 5 years.

We invite you to participate in this review process. Please complete this survey by  September 1, 2017.

ABFSE utilizes 15 Standards in the accreditation decision-making process. The ABFSE Accreditation Standards are found in their entirety at http://www.abfse.org/docs/standards.pdf. 
 
Please feel free to share the link to this survey with other interested parties. Your feedback regarding the accreditation standards will be used to improve the accreditation process.
 
note: Comments to the ABFSE are accepted via the website at any time. However  this specific review period ends September 1, 2017. Please submit your comments by that deadline.
 

* 1. Please provide some background information. Indicate the status that best applies to you as you complete this survey.

* 2. Are you a graduate of an ABFSE accredited program?

* 3. Gender

* 4. Age

* 5. Standard 1- Sponsorship
Summary:   The institution offering the funeral service/mortuary science program must  have governmental authority to issue the appropriate degree and be an institution described as single purpose (teaching only funeral service) or multi-purpose (funeral service is one of many programs offered).

Please go to STANDARD 1: SPONSORSHIP page 4 to view full text of this standard.

This Standard

* 6. Standard 2 – Organization and Administration
Summary:   The institution must demonstrate an appropriate chain of command, the program must be administered by an individual with appropriate academic credentials and include provisions to consider student views and judgments.

Please go to STANDARD 2: ORGANIZATION AND ADMINISTRATION page 5 to review full text of this standard.
        
This Standard

* 7. Standard 3 – Aims and Objectives
Summary:  Each program in funeral service education must have as its central aim recognition of the importance of funeral service personnel and defined objectives. These aims and objectives must appear in published documents and the program must assess the achievement of its aims and objectives. 

Please go to STANDARD 3: AIMS AND OBJECTIVES page 7 to view complete text of this standard.

* 8. If additional space is necessary to address your response, please use the comment box provided. If no additional space is necessary for comments, please go to the next question.

* 9. Standard 4 – Administrative Practices and Ethical Standards
Summary:  Each institution/program must conduct its business and academic activities in an ethical manner.  All practices and procedures must apply equally to all students. Written policies must exist which ensure due process for students, faculty, and staff, including grievance procedures and disciplinary and sexual harassment policies. Honesty and integrity are required of all accredited programs including specific expectations for program advertising.

Please go to STANDARD 4: ADMINISTRATIVE PRACTICES AND ETHICAL STANDARDS page 7 to view full text of this standard.

This Standard

* 10. Standard 5 – Finance
Summary:   The institution/program must have financial resources which are adequate to provide instruction and facilities in compliance with the accreditation manual and to ensure graduation of each class accepted.

STANDARD 5:  FINANCE
5.1          The institution/program must have financial resources which are adequate to provide instruction and facilities in compliance with this manual and to ensure graduation of each class accepted.
5.2          The learning resources budget shall be adequate for proper support of the curriculum.
5.3          Acceptable accounting practices must be employed and the most current audited financial statements must be provided.  For departmental programs in comprehensive institutions which are regionally accredited, institutional compliance will be assumed.  In such cases, departmental budgets must reflect adequate financial support of the funeral service department.  Budget development for the department must be in evidence.
5.4          The financial accounting system for institutions must not be combined with financial affairs of any other organizations.
 
This Standard

* 11. If additional space is necessary to address your response, please use the comment box provided. If no additional space is necessary for comments, please go to the next question.

* 12. Standard 6 – Curriculum
Summary:   The Associate Degree, or its equivalent, is the minimum educational standard for an accredited program. The overall associate degree curriculum is to be apportioned in the categories of (1) Public Health and Technical, (2) Business Management and Professional, (3) Social Sciences/Humanities, (4) Legal Regulatory and Ethical and (5) General Education. Specific embalming and funeral directing expectations are enumerated.

Please go to STANDARD 6: CURRICULUM page 9 to view full text of this standard.
This Standard

* 13. Standard 7 – Faculty
Summary:   Faculty must be adequate in number, credentials, competence and experience to effectively implement the program of instruction. Evidence of faculty development, instructional support and student-teacher ratios must be available for accreditation review.

Please go to STANDARD 7: FACULTY page 12 to view full text of this Standard.
 
This Standard:

* 14. If additional space is necessary to address your response, please use the comment box provided. If no additional space is necessary for comments, please go to the next question.

* 15. Standard 8 – Facilities
Summary:   Classrooms, laboratories, and other areas used for instruction must be properly equipped, adequate in number and size, and supplied for quality instruction to support the aims and objectives of the program and to meet the needs of students. This includes requirements for off-campus instructional sites such as those used for practicum, internship or embalming instruction.

Please  go to STANDARD 8: FACILITIES page 14 to view the full text of this standard.

This Standard

* 16. Standard 9 – Library/Learning Resources
Summary:   Learning resources, including computer resources, collections of books, periodicals, and reference materials must be both sufficient in scope and readily accessible to students to provide adequate support to the program. The learning resources for the program should include access to external computer databases and learning resources must be accessible to students outside of regular classroom hours.  The program must require student utilization of these resources.

STANDARD 9:  LIBRARY / LEARNING RESOURCES
9.1          Learning resources, including computer resources, collections of books, periodicals, and reference materials must be both sufficient in scope and readily accessible to students to provide adequate support to the Funeral Service Education curriculum.
9.2          Computer resources include computer assisted instruction materials as well as access to internet resources.  The learning resources program should provide access to external computer databases.
9.3          Since quality and availability affect program outcomes, learning resources must be accessible to students outside of regular classroom hours.  The program must require student utilization of these resources.
                9.3.1       An acquisition policy relevant to Funeral Service Education must be in place and funeral service personnel must be involved with the annual acquisitions related to this program.
                9.3.2       Sufficient space must be devoted to learning resources to provide for the needs of students in Funeral Service Education and must be accessible during reasonable hours and administered by   qualified staff.
                9.3.3       Learning resources must be catalogued according to a recognized standard method.

 This Standard

* 17. If additional space is necessary to address your response, please use the comment box provided. If no additional space is necessary for comments, please go to the next question.

* 18. Standard 10 – Students
Summary:   Each program must publish its policies for admissions, attendance, promotion, graduation and student health and safety including discrimination and sexual harassment. Students must have access to student services for academic and personal problems. Opportunities for student involvement in program and institutional governance must be available. Student records must be maintained in perpetuity and according to national standards. 

Please go to STANDARD 10: STUDENTS page 15 to view the full text of this standard.

This Standard

* 19. Standard 11 – Program Planning and Evaluation/Assessment
Summary:   Each institution/program must have a continuous system of planning and assessment in place to measure its effectiveness and to implement necessary improvements. Evaluation is to include NBE pass rates, graduation and job placement rates, course and faculty evaluations, surveys of graduates and employers and documentation of how the assessment efforts are used to improve instructional and program quality.

Please go to STANDARD 11: PROGRAM PLANNING AND EVALUATION / ASSESSMENT page 16 to view the full text of this standard.

This Standard

* 20. If additional space is necessary to address your response, please use the comment box provided. If no additional space is necessary for comments, please go to the next question.

* 21. Standard 12 – Default rates in the student Loan program under Title IV and compliance with Title IV program responsibilities.
Summary: Single-purpose, non-regionally accredited, funeral service institutions must demonstrate compliance with obligations under Title IV Higher Education Act in order to participate in federal financial aid programs. This includes review of compliance audits, program reviews and plans to bring rates into compliance, if below federal  guidelines. Regionally accredited institutions address this standard at the institutional level and not for the ABFSE program only.

STANDARD 12:  DEFAULT RATES IN THE STUDENT LOAN PROGRAMS UNDER TITLE IV and
COMPLIANCE WITH TITLE IV PROGRAM RESPONSIBILITIES
 (Only single-purpose, non-regionally accredited, funeral service institutions which participate in Title IV Higher Education Act programs must respond)
12.1        The institution must demonstrate compliance with its obligations under Title IV, including results of compliance audits, program reviews, and the like.
12.2        Subpart B, Chapter VI, Title 34, Volume 3 (revised as of July 1, 2005) of the Code of Federal Regulations identifies and then divides the “Standards for Participation in Title IV,” HEA Programs into six broad areas (this document is at Appendix F):  (a) Program records, (b) Fiscal records, (c) Required records, (d) General records issues, (e) Record retention, and (f) Examination of records.  (A copy of Appendix F is attached.)

Single purpose institutions for which the ABFSE serves as “gatekeeper” must also demonstrate compliance with those accreditation standards which speak directly to their situations, particularly Standards 1 (Sponsorship), 2 (Organization and Administration), 4 (Administrative Practices and Ethical Standards), and 5 (Finance).   These matters will be addressed in the Self study and provisions made by the institution to have available appropriate records and information as indicated below. 

Recognizing the primary role of financial aid auditors with regard to ensuring compliance with Title IV, ABFSE visiting committees will limit their review under this standard to the following:
12.2.1     A specific examination of the most recent financial aid audit.  That review will be referenced in the visiting committee report, including any audit exceptions. 
12.2.2     Through sampling methods, the visiting committee will confirm that the records identified in the regulation indicated above as Part a (Program records), Part b (Fiscal records), and Part c (Required records) are on file at the institution. 
12.2.3     The visiting committee will ensure the institution has a process in place that assures compliance with Part d (general requirements on records availability), Part e (appropriate retention of records, and Part f (a policy on availability of records for inspection by those identified in the regulation).
12.2.4     The visiting committee will, using sampling methods, ensure that records noted above are maintained in acceptable form and available for inspection by appropriate parties.
12.3        The institution must present Default Rates for the Title IV Student Loan Program for the years since the last accreditation review, as reported to the college by the US Department of Education.
12.4        For institutions in which rates are above the federal guidelines, plans to bring rates into compliance must be presented.
 
 This Standard

* 22. Standard 13 – Record of Student Complaints
Summary:   All student complaints about the program, submitted in writing since the last accreditation review, must be available for review.  The program must file a written response or demonstrate resolution of the complaint.

STANDARD 13:  RECORD OF STUDENT COMPLAINTS
13.1        All student complaints about the program, submitted in writing since the last accreditation review, must be available for review.
13.2        With each written complaint, the program must file a written response, or demonstrate resolution, of the complaint.
13.3        See also Standard 10

This Standard

* 23. Standard 14 – Program length, tuition, and fees must relate to the subject matter
Summary:   Single-purpose, non-regionally accredited, funeral service institutions participating in Title IV Higher Education Act programs must demonstrate that the subject matter taught relates reasonably to tuition and fees charged and to length of the program. Regionally accredited institutions address this standard at the institutional level and not for the ABFSE program only.

STANDARD 14:  PROGRAM LENGTH, TUITION, AND FEES MUST RELATE TO SUBJECT MATTER
(Only single-purpose, non-regionally accredited, funeral service institutions,  which participate in Title IV Higher Education Act programs, must respond)

14.1          The Institution must demonstrate that the subject matter taught relates reasonably to tuition and fees charged and to length of the program.

This Standard

* 24. Standard 15 – Program length in credit hours
Summary:   Single-purpose, non-regionally accredited, funeral service institutions participating in Title IV Higher Education Act programs must demonstrate that the program is defined in standard credit hour terms following the current Department of Education definition of credit hours. Regionally accredited institutions address this standard at the institutional level and not for the ABFSE program only.

STANDARD 15:  PROGRAM LENGTH IN CREDIT HOURS
(Only single-purpose, non-regionally accredited, funeral service institutions, which participate in Title IV Higher Education Act programs, must respond)
15.1        The Institution must demonstrate that its program is defined in standard credit hour terms, either semester hour or quarter hour following the current Department of Education definition of credit hours.
15.1.1     The Federal Definition of Credit Hour is found in 34 CFR 668.8(k) and (l).
Credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than:
 (1) One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
(2) At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

This Standard

* 25. If additional space is necessary to address your response, please use the comment box provided. If no additional space is necessary for comments, please go to the next question.

* 26. Additional comments or suggestions not included in this survey may be added here or should be directed to ABFSE via e-mail c/o exdir@abfse.org or via phone (816) 233-3747.

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