Classification of Campuses

The Council classifies campus activities into two categories: main (including additional space—see Glossary definition), branch campus (including additional space). Each classification has distinct characteristics, and the institution operating these facilities must comply with standards set forth by ACICS in Title III of the Accreditation Criteria.

A nonmain campus educational activity is one offered at any location away from a main campus. Each nonmain campus is required to meet ACICS standards for accreditation. The following nomenclature and characteristics are used by ACICS for classification and evaluation purposes.

A main campus is the primary location of an institution to be accredited by ACICS. This campus is expected to meet fully all applicable standards set forth in the Accreditation Criteria.

Branch Campus 
A branch campus is any location of an institution other than the main, but under the same corporate structure as the main campus (i.e., part of the main campus corporation or a wholly owned subsidiary), that (1) is permanent in nature; (2) offers a full program leading to a degree, certificate, or other recognized credential; and (3) is geographically separate from the main campus such that students may not easily avail themselves of educational, financial aid, and administrative services of the main campus.

In order for a branch campus to be included within the scope of an institution's grant of accreditation, complete academic and financial information concerning the facility must be submitted to the Council in the form of a two-part application. Part I of the application consists of general academic and financial information about the facility and outlines the readiness of the location to begin enrolling students. Part II of the application must be completed within twelve months of the date of the initial inclusion and consists of a number of questions about the administration, students services, and other operational questions.

More information on the Council's classification of a branch campus can be found in Section 1-3-102 of the Accreditation Criteria.

Application for a fully online branch campus requires prior discussions with ACICS and a preliminary planning and assessment visit. Please contact

Learning Site 
A learning site is a non-main campus which does not meet the definition of an branch campus. Examples of learning sites may include training for government, corporate training, classes for high school students, temporary classroom space, and sites where only portions of a complete program are offered.

If the proposed campus is separate from the main campus, the students cannot easily avail themselves of the student services at the main campus, and a complete program is offered to the general public at the site, it meets the Council's definition of a branch campus. This location must be reported using the Part I of the Branch Campus Application. If the proposed campus does not meet these definitions or if additional clarification is necessary, please contact the Council office.

Further information regarding the Council's classification of campuses can be found in Section 1-3-100 of the Accreditation Criteria.