Eligibility Process

The Eligibility period of NASPAA accreditation is designed to be a formative experience. Applications and fees are due April 15 or August 15, of each year.

The Eligibility application is an opportunity for first-time applicant programs to engage with COPRA and receive developmental support prior to the self-study process. The Eligibility process is intended to provide direction, directly from COPRA to programs interested in accreditation, on ways they may improve their prospects of receiving accreditation. The applicant program is given initial feedback on its application from the Commission and has the opportunity to connect with a mentor prior to, and during, the self-study process, if the program chooses. 

The Eligibility Application is a required application and is submitted in English through the NASPAA Data Center. The application asks programs to address each of the 4 Preconditions of the NASPAA Accreditation Standards, as well as provide background information about themselves — regional accreditation or its equivalent, program mission, public service values, primary emphasis, as well as overall capacity to conduct the self-study evaluation. The Eligibility Application touches on aspects that will be fully articulated by programs in the Self-Study Report: public service values, evaluation, diversity, and as such COPRA suggests that programs review the current Self-Study Instructions as preparation for completing the Eligibility Application (for the Eligibility Application template, click here). To accompany the eligibility application, programs must also remit the eligibility fee.

Once submitted, the application is reviewed by the Eligibility Committee, who also explores the program’s website and available public information. The Eligibility Committee liaison to COPRA is then responsible for presenting the Committee’s recommendations with regard to readiness for self-study. The Commission discusses each application, and ultimately recommends whether or not a program should proceed to self-study. The formative feedback from the Commission is provided back to programs in a formal letter.

After a program’s eligibility has been reviewed by COPRA, programs proceeding to self-study have the option to request an eligibility counselor from NASPAA – someone outside of the evaluative process to assist with questions that arise during the drafting of the Self-Study Report. For more information, please contact copra@naspaa.org.

eligibility video

Ready to begin your eligibility application? Click for the NASPAA Data Center, the application template, or first review the Technical Instructions for Eligibility.

Not sure if you’re ready for accreditation? Use our self-assessment to reflect on where your program is in the process of implementing mission- and outcomes-based processes!

Have questions? See the Frequently Asked Questions page for more Eligibility information.