Counseling – Regulations Regarding Equity Of Services
Online course offerings are now becoming online “programs” with online students not only needing access to high-quality courses but to high-quality support services as well. This is reinforced in the following regulations:
Federal Department of Education (DOE) and the Accrediting Commission (ACCJC) require the provision of equity of services regardless of the delivery mode. ACCJC Policy, which stems from the DOE mandates, is as follows:
Commission policy specifies that all learning opportunities provided by accredited institutions must have equivalent quality, accountability, and focus on student outcomes, regardless of mode of delivery. (ACCJC DE Policies page 46)
The ASCCC Distance Education Guide to Evaluating DE and Correspondence Education asks in Standard II.B1: Are counseling and other student support services available for DE/CE students? Regarding counseling, the commission actually requires the following:
- Evidence that the institution develops, implements and evaluates counseling and/or academic advising that takes into account the needs of students enrolled in DE/CE Programs
- Evidence that those responsible for counseling/advising are trained to address the needs of students enrolled in DE/CE programs and address these needs in a timely manner
The OEI Online Counselor’s Network Project gives colleges the resources to offer their students equitable counseling services in an online environment.