Policy for the Review of Provisionally-Approved Programs


Chapter 173 of the Missouri Statutes charges the Coordinating Board for Higher Education with several responsibilities, including:

  • ... approval of proposed new degree programs to be offered by the state institutions of higher education . . . (Section 173.005(1), RSMo)

  • ... collect the necessary information and develop comparable data for all institutions of higher education in the state . . . (Section 173.005(8), RSMo)

  • ... requesting the governing boards of all state-supported institutions of higher education and of major private institutions to submit . . . proposed policy changes . . . and make pertinent recommendations relating thereto . . . (Section 173.030(1), RSMo)

  • ... recommending to the governing board of any institution of higher education in the state the development, consolidation or elimination of programs, degree offerings, physical facilities or policy changes where that action is deemed . . . in the best interests of the institutions . . . (Section 173.030(2), RSMo)


Effective July 1, 2011, the CBHE began giving a five-year provisional approval to all new academic programs proposed by public institutions. After five years the provisionally-approved program will be reviewed again by the CBHE. Based on this review, the CBHE may approve the program unconditionally; require a follow-up review of the program in two years; or disapprove the program.

Review Criteria

The following are the criteria for the five year review of provisionally-approved programs:

  • Criteria 1:  Actual versus projected enrollment data (5 years)
  • Criteria 2:  Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • Criteria 3:  Student Retention
  • Criteria 4:  Actual versus projected completions (3 years)
  • Criteria 5:  Assessment Results (5 years)
  • Criteria 6:  External Awards or Recognition


Upon completion of the review, programs will be recommended for one of three levels:

  • Full Approval

  • Recommended Termination of Program

  • Continued provisional review with follow-up in two years


  • MDHEWD will identify programs to be reviewed and send an initial notification letter to the institution chief academic officer informing of the review and the timeline for the review.

  • The department will develop a preliminary report with analysis and findings based on the criteria above and send to the institution. For programs recommended for termination, the department will ask the institutions to submit the actions they will take on low performing and duplicate programs.

  • Institutions with programs preliminarily recommended for deletion or inactivation will be provided the opportunity to confirm or submit corrected data to MDHEWD for review and additional comment.

    • If an institution intends to delete or inactivate the program, institutions will be asked to submit the action through the Academic Program Actions Portal and develop a "teach out" plan for students.

    • If an institution intends to keep the program, it must justify that decision to MDHEWD by submitting a narrative summary and appropriate documents and data supporting one of the following justifications:

      • Incorrect data

      • Centrality of program to institutional mission

      • Program supports other existing programs

      • Program meets statewide needs

    • MDHEWD staff will review responses from institutions and submit final findings to the institution.

  • MDHEWD staff will submit the final findings report with recommendations to the CBHE.

For additional information regarding this process, please contact Alicia Erickson alicia.erickson@dhewd.mo.gov.