Certification of Continued Institutional Compliance with Commission Policies
Public Notification of an Evaluation Team Visit and Third Party Comment
Appropriate and Timely Effort
Mt. SAC began its public notification of an evaluation team visit in February 2015 with a presentation to the Board of Trustees. This presentation was done at a public meeting with an opportunity for public comment. Another board presentation with opportunity for public comment was made in March 2016. The first draft of the Self Evaluation was shared on the College’s website in May 2016. Feedback on the draft was solicited via an online feedback form, a hard copy feedback form, and scheduled Dialogue Days for the campus community. The final draft of the Self Evaluation was again shared on the College’s website in September 2016, and this was the final opportunity for feedback. Additionally, in September 2016, one Board of Trustees presentation was made, at a public meeting with the opportunity for public comment (IV.C.9-7, IV.B.4-7, INT50).
Cooperation and Follow-Up with Evaluation Team
The College has received no third party comment. In the event that it does, it will cooperate with the evaluation team for necessary follow-up.
Compliance with Commission Policy on Third Party Comment
The above stated opportunities for public comment at Board of Trustees meetings and the release of two drafts of the Self Evaluation publicly on the College’s website evidence compliance with this policy.
Standards and Performance with Respect to Student Achievement
Defined and Identified Expected Measure of Performance and Relevancy of Institution-Set Standards (ISS)
Mt. SAC has established Institution-set Standards (ISS) for student achievement through a collaborative process facilitated by the Academic Senate. The Institutional Standards for Student Completion Task Force discussed initial data points for satisfactory performance of student achievement in learning in five areas: (1) successful course completion rate by percent, (2) fall-to-fall persistence, (3) number of degrees, (4) number of transfers to four-year colleges/universities, and (5) number of certificates awarded. Mt. SAC’s ISS are articulated so that the College can determine the degree to which they have been met. The initial level for each ISS was set using averages for each of the following measures: student course pass rate by percent, fall-to-fall persistence, number of degrees, number of transfers, and number of certificates. Mt. SAC implements ISS through ongoing processes including its program review known as Planning for Institutional Effectiveness (INT51 pg. 8-9, INT52, INT53, INT54).
Job Placement Rates and Licensure Exam Pass Rates
In 2015, additional ISS were established for job placement and licensure examination passage rates. In fall 2015, Mt. SAC received notification of enhanced monitoring related to job placement rates which did not meet the College’s established ISS. The College immediately began dialogue regarding the concerns. It was determined that the College could change how it calculates job placement rates and could use an outside vendor for the Alumni Survey. The deans also discussed the setting of the job placement rate on a program-by-program basis and provided updated ISS information. Results of this work were communicated to the Commission in an addendum format (INT55, INT56, INT57, INT58).
Analysis of Performance as to ISS and Taking of Appropriate Measures when Needed
The ISS are designed to support Mt. SAC faculty and staff in analyzing student performance. If student data indicates the level of performance expectation is not being met, this gives the College an opportunity to consider support activities, which can positively impact student achievement and help students reach their academic potential. Targeted support activities for students who are not achieving are being designed and implemented. One example related to student persistence includes the Basic Skills Pathways to Transfer, which came about because students were not progressing through the English and math course sequences. This project offers cohorts and in-class support resources for students to progress through basic skills math and English classes. Assessment data indicate students participating in a Basic Skills Pathway demonstrate increased student persistence through sequential courses leading to college-level work (INT59). Additionally, on a yearly basis the Career Technical Education programs examine their students’ job placement rates and based on the findings, re-set their ISS.
Credits, Program Length, and Tuition
Lengths are Within the Range of Good Practice
All new programs, degrees, and certificates submitted to the Educational Design Committee are required to contain course sequencing tables that note the courses in a specific order across a recommended timeline. Course sequencing tables are included in the program submission via the program “cover sheet”. As of the publishing of the College’s new digital catalog on the CourseLeaf platform, course sequence tables will be available to students in the 2017-18 catalog.
Lengths are Reliable and Accurate
Mt. SAC’s degrees and programs follow practices common to American higher education, including appropriate length, breadth, depth, rigor, course sequencing, time to completion, and synthesis of learning. The College ensures that minimum degree requirements are 60 semester credits or equivalent at the associate level. For more information, refer to II.A.5.
Tuition is Consistent
The tuition for all courses at Mt. SAC is consistent across all programs and is regulated by the California Community Colleges. The fee is set at $46 per unit (INT60).
Clock Hour Conversions to Credit Hours
Mt. SAC has one program that uses clock hours. Students enrolled in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved Aircraft Maintenance Program must meet mandated hours using a time clock. Federal Standards for clock-to-credit hour conversions are used in the awarding of credit for courses in this program.
Compliance with Commission Policy on Institutional Degrees and Credits
The above statements and narrative included in Standard II.A.5 and II.A.9 evidence compliance with this policy.
Transfer Policies are Appropriately Disclosed
Information about the Criteria for Acceptance of Credit for Transfer
Courses are evaluated for associate degree requirements from other regionally accredited colleges and universities via the use of the California Community Colleges (CCC) Course Identification (C-ID) Numbering System. CCC C-ID descriptors and/or the course description of the course in question are compared (INT63). Mt. SAC courses are transferable to other colleges and universities via the same process and/or via articulation agreements (INT64).
Compliance with Commission Policy on Transfer of Credit
The above statements and narrative included in Standard II.A.10 as well as the College Catalog evidence compliance with this policy.
Distance Education and Correspondence Education
Policies and Procedures for Classifying a Course as Offered by Distance Education
The College’s Administrative Procedure 4105 Distance Learning defines and classifies distance education in alignment with federal regulatory definitions. While Mt. SAC does not offer 100 percent online degrees, some 100 percent online certificates are available, which were approved through the substantive change process in 2013. Distance learning courses are developed, reviewed, and evaluated in the institution's curriculum approval processes through the Distance Learning Committee, as facilitated by the Educational Design Committee's course approval process. The Distance Learning Course Amendment Form is the curriculum proposal form to document how a regular course can be offered in online or hybrid modality; the form is an official means for classifying a course as offered online or hybrid. Additional quality assurances for distance education are reflected by the Skills and Pedagogy for Online Teaching, the local mandate for faculty before they are assigned to teach distance education courses, and training for using the local learning management system through the Online Learning Support Center (I.B.2-24, I.A.1-29, II.A.5-5, I.B.1-32, I.B.1-33, II.A.5-6, II.A.5-7, II.A.5-8).
Clarification of Distance Education vs. Correspondence Education
Mt. SAC does not offer any correspondence education courses.
Verification of Student Identity for those Participating in Distance Education
The Luminis web portal allows employees and students to access their approved information (e.g., address, vacation accrual) from anywhere in the world via a password protected environment. This secure environment and the defined admissions and record-keeping processes enable the College’s compliance with the federal mandate on authenticating students who take distance learning classes. For more information, refer to III.C.3.
Technology Infrastructure is Sufficient to Maintain and Sustain Distance Education Offerings
Mt. SAC’s Information Technology Department provides sufficient and timely support to students, faculty, and classified staff through Help Desk assistance. The College bases its technology plans and investments on classroom needs to enhance student success and student equity including programs and services through the Information Technology Advisory Committee and Distance Learning Committee meetings and updates to the Technology Master Plan. The institution includes the needs related to online teaching and learning in the assessment of the technology needs of its programs and services through surveys, focus groups, the governance process, Academic Senate, and the Curriculum and Instruction Council’s involved process from course to online format, and distance learning’s separate approval process, methods, and rigor through the Educational Design Committee. Technology resource decisions related to online teaching are based on the results of the evaluation of program and services needs through documentation in PIE. For more information, refer to III.C.1, III.C.2, and III.C.4.
Compliance with Commission Policy on Distance Education and Correspondence Education
The above statements and narrative included in Standard II.A.5, II.C.8, and III.C.1, III.C.2, III.C.3, and III.C.4 evidence compliance with this policy.
Clear Policies and Procedures for Handling Student Complaints that are Accessible
The Student Rights and Grievances Procedures (Administrative Procedures 5530) are posted on the College’s website, and an overview of the procedure is listed in the College catalog. The procedures contain the Statement of Grievance form used to initiate an academic and/or a non-academic complaint (I.C.10-3). The process contains three levels of complaints: Informal, Formal and Appeal.
The Student Rights and Grievances procedures provide website links for the College’s non-discrimination and harassment procedures: the Chancellor’s Office complaint on unlawful discrimination, the Office of Civil Rights and the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (I.C.1-19).
For Title IV participation compliance (Financial Aid), student rights and complaint procedures are posted on the College’s website, under Financial Aid (INT65). This section reviews Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act rights and privacy act, disclosure of financial aid records, right to review and amend financial aid records, record keeping, and right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education. There is also a right to challenge section which integrates with the Student Rights and Grievance Procedures and discloses the appeal process for students to follow.
Student Complaint Files for Last Six Years are Available
Student Grievances files are maintained in the College’s OnBase data storage in the Student Life Office. The files contain all levels of the informal and formal complaint, with the responses from the appropriate employees and the final outcome of the grievance including any appeal. All files are compliant with the Student Grievance Procedures.
For Title IV participation compliance (Financial Aid), student financial aid records are stored in the College’s Banner system application. Financial Aid staff members are instructed to record and document interactions with student via the RHACOMM page in Banner; this is used to comply with federal, state, and institutional rules and regulations, as well as for tracking purposes. These recordings can be used as part of student’s complaint file. When a student exercises the right to further challenge, the Director of Financial Aid is in receipt of written records and these records are kept in a locked cabinet until the case reaches resolution; once resolution is reached, records are then stored electronically. As with Student Life, Financial Aid electronically maintains records in the College’s OnBase data storage (INT66).
Team Analysis Identifies Issues
To be determined by the evaluation team during the accreditation site visit.
Accrediting and Licensure Bodies Posted and Contact Information Available
The Mt. SAC website contains information and website addresses of the Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges, the State agencies, the Office of Civil Rights, and other associations that approve and accredit various programs offered by the College such as Nursing (I.C.1-26).
For Title IV participation compliance (Financial Aid), particular consumer information is required to be disclosed to the public to comply with all federal and state mandates. The web location for each item is as follows:
- Net Price Calculator: http://www.mtsac.edu/financialaid/resources/npcalc.html
- Policies and Definitions: http://www.mtsac.edu/financialaid/resources/Policies.html
- Ability to Benefit: http://www.mtsac.edu/financialaid/resources/policies/ability-to-benefit.html
- Academic Year Definition: http://www.mtsac.edu/financialaid/resources/policies/academic-year.html
- General Consumer Information: http://www.mtsac.edu/financialaid/resources/consumerinfo.html
- FERPA: http://www.mtsac.edu/financialaid/resources/policies/ferpa.html
- Financial Aid Code of Conduct: http://www.mtsac.edu/financialaid/resources/policies/financial-aid-code-of-conduct.html
- Gainful Employment: http://www.mtsac.edu/gainful-employment/
- Licensure Exam Passage Rates: http://www.mtsac.edu/financialaid/resources/policies/licensure-exam-passage-rates.html
- Satisfactory Academic Progress: http://www.mtsac.edu/financialaid/resources/policies/sap.html
- Verification Policy: http://www.mtsac.edu/financialaid/resources/policies/verification.html
Compliance with Commission Policy on Accredited Status and Student and Public Complaints
The above statements as well as the College catalog evidence compliance with this policy.
Institutional Disclosure and Advertising and Recruitment Materials
Provides Accurate, Timely, and Detailed Information
Mt. SAC provides information to its students and to the public that is accurate, timely, and detailed about its mission, its programs and services, and its learning outcomes. The communication of this information is varied and includes print (schedule of classes), signage on campus, the online College catalog, Course Outline of Record, course syllabi, brochures and fliers, and the annual student handbook (INT46, INT67, I.A.4-1, INT68, INT69, INT70, INT71).
The responsibility for the accuracy of this information lies across campus and includes instructional divisions, student services divisions, the Marketing and Communication Office, and the President’s Office (INT72).
Compliance with Commission Policy on Institutional Disclosure and Advertising and Recruitment Materials
The above statements as well as the narrative in Standards I.C.1 and I.C.2 evidence compliance with this policy.
Provides Information Concerning Accredited Status above in the Section on Student Complaints
As mentioned above, the College provides information concerning its accredited status to its students and to the public.
Title IV Compliance
Evidence on Required Components of the Title IV Program is Presented
An external auditing firm audits Mt. SAC annually. This audit includes the assessment of the internal controls for governmental funds, Title IV financial aid funds, grants, and externally funded programs.
Mt. SAC demonstrates compliance with Federal Title IV regulations and requirements for student financial aid funds. These funds are part of the College’s annual external audit. The College has not received any audit findings related to these funds (Standards III.D.10 & III.D.15).
Addressed any Issues Raised by the USDE
The U.S. Department of Education has not raised any issues with Mt. SAC in regards to Title IV (Standard III.D.15).
Student Loan Default Rates are Within Acceptable Range Defined by the USDE
Mt. SAC’s Financial Aid Office has policies and procedures in place to adhere to Title IV of the Higher Education Act. For the last three years, Mt. SAC's Cohort Default Rate has been steady, ranging from 13 percent to 17 percent with each Department release, which is below the Department of Education’s threshold. Mt. SAC's annual cohort default rates are, and have been, within federal guidelines (Standard III.D.10).
Contractual Relationships have been Approved by the Commission
As a means of generating revenue, the School of Continuing Education’s Community Education department partners with Ed2go, a company which delivers online learning to adults. Mt. SAC promotes Ed2go classes and has a link on the College website for students to be connected with the Ed2go registration portal. Ed2go courses are also advertised in the Community Education brochure. Interested students can browse and select courses including academic enrichment and workforce skills. Registration and fees are paid directly to Ed2go and each successful registration originating from the Mt. SAC website results in revenue to the College. The agreement with Mt. SAC and Ed2go stipulates that all fiscal and administrative processes are maintained by Ed2go. Student records, online security, and tuition are handled as part of Ed2go’s administrative responsibilities.
Ed2go monitors enrollment, attendance, student progress, and class completion. In order to ensure that courses meet the standards for rigor and relevancy, Mt. SAC academic managers periodically review course syllabi and course assignments. Students do not receive college credit, but Ed2go provides certificates denoting satisfactory completion of course objectives.
Compliance with Commission Policy on Contractual Relationships and with Commission Policy on Compliance with Title IV
The above statements as well as the narrative in Standards III.D.10 and III.D.15 evidence compliance with this policy.