Frequently Asked Questions: Site Visitors

Site Visiting

  • Come to a training! COPRA hosts in-person and online trainings throughout the year. If you’re interested, email
  • No, the peer review is completely volunteer-based. NASPAA is lucky to have so many willing expert volunteers!
  • Every site visitor must go through the NASPAA online site visitor training. The training has several video prerequisites. The training emphasizes the norms of being a NASPAA site visitor (logistics, role of the site visit, expectations), as well as education on the NASPAA Accreditation Standards. 
  • Each team consists of three: a chair, an academic, and a practitioner. Academic site visitors are expected to be at least associate-level professors at currently accredited programs, and practitioners are expected to hold graduate degrees as well as have 7+ years of public service work experience (typically explicitly hiring our graduates).
  • Trained site visitors are matched with programs based on several factors, including professional background and experience, geography, and knowledge directly relatable to the program and/or COPRA’s concerns with the program. Efforts are made to ensure no conflicts of interest exist between the team and the program.
  • Site visits occur between late January and late March of each year. If COPRA recommends your program proceed to a site visit, it will take place in the Spring of your cohort year. After NASPAA has matched a team, you will coordinate directly with the team to identify dates and the on-the-ground schedule.
  • The typical site visit lasts 2.5 days. If the institution is hosting a site visit for multiple programs or satellite campuses, the visit may be extended. If the program is hosting a follow-up visit, most likely after a one-year reaccreditation, COPRA may recommend the visit is take place over only one day.
  • The on-the-ground site visit schedule is determined by the program and the site visit chair. Typically, the site visit chair provides the program with a list of meetings and expectations, which the program proposes as a working schedule. The site visit chair has final approval of the schedule. The schedule is intended to (at least) reflect the priorities of COPRA, per the interim report. A sample site visit schedule is available in the Site Visit Manual.
  • Upon completing the site visit, the site visit team has 30 days to draft a report addressing the concerns of COPRA as well as providing evidence from the visit. Programs then have the opportunity to review the draft for errors of fact, before it is locked by the team for COPRA review.
  • The site visit report is completed in the NASPAA Data Center. Instructions can be found here.
  • Site Visitors are responsible for arranging the logistics of the visit with the program. After the visit, site visitors should send all receipts and the expense voucher directly to NASPAA. NASPAA then invoices the program in the aggregate. At no time should money exchange hands between the program and the team. Site visitors should be reasonably sensitive to costs.
  • No, NASPAA is unable to reimburse alcoholic beverages.
  • Please scan and send your voucher electronically within 30 days of your visit to the Accreditation Associate. Do not seek reimbursement directly from the program under review.
  • Site visitors should send in their expenses within one week of the end of the site visit to the NASPAA office.  NASPAA will accept expense reports up to 30 days after the visit.  After 30 days NASPAA will not honor the reimbursement request.
  • Site Visitors seeking reimbursement for mileage on their personal vehicle should include a Google Map, MapQuest, or other such print out verifying the mileage. NASPAA reimburses at the IRS mileage rate for that year. For those driving to the site visit, the request for mileage should not exceed the comparable rate of common carrier.
  • If a site visitor is traveling to/from another destination in conjunction with their visit, NASPAA will only reimburse for the portion of the expense that pertains to the visit. For example, if a site visitor purchases airline tickets to a visit in DC and is traveling to New York for a conference then flying from New York back to their home, NASPAA is happy to reimburse the portion of the trip that pertains directly to the visit.
  • Site Visitors will not be reimbursed for alcoholic beverages.  NASPAA will also not reimburse for expenses such as childcare or pet-boarding while you participate in the visit. Some university policies restrict or cap expenses, please be sure to check with your program for any restrictions prior to the visit.