How To Become a Member
“The nation’s first six Tribal Colleges established AIHEC in 1983 as an organization to serve existing and emerging Tribal Colleges. Because this remains our focus, membership within AIHEC is limited at this time to existing and emerging Tribal Colleges and Universities, as well as other Indigenous institutions of higher education from around the world. AIHEC does not offer individual membership opportunities.
Membership in AIHEC is a rigorous process, and we have four categories: Regular Member (accredited TCUs); Associate Member (pre-accreditation existing TCU); Developing/Emerging Member (institutions not yet in the accreditation process); and International/Organization Member (Indigenous institutions of higher education or their associations). Those within the first category – Regular Member – are voting members of AIHEC and their presidents sit on the AIHEC board of directors.”
Member Application Process
- Application Request (NOTE: Steps 4 and 5 may not apply to developing/emerging members)
Upon request from an institution, tribe, or Alaska Native village or corporation, AIHEC central office staff will transmit an application packet, including an application form, to the inquiring institution eligible governing entity.
- Formal Application
The completed application form is returned to AIHEC.
- The application must be certified by an authorized official of the institution or eligible governing entity (e.g. chief executive officer or chair of the institution’s governing board).
- All required supporting documentation and the application fee must be included in the application package.
- One original and two copies of the application package (including supporting documentation) must be submitted. Either the original or one of the two copies must be unbound.
- Electronic submissions are permitted.
- Initial Application Review
Upon receipt of a completed application form, AIHEC central office staff will review the application and supporting documentation for completeness, using criteria established in the AIHEC Bylaws and further explained in the AIHEC Membership Handbook, including appendices. AIHEC staff will make a written recommendation for detailed review (and site visit) or recommendation for further work by the applicant. The AIHEC central office transmits the recommendation to the applicant and the chairs of the AIHEC Membership and Accreditation Committee and board.
RECOMMENDATION FOR DETAILED REVIEW and SITE VISIT
If a recommendation for detailed review and site visit is made, the AIHEC central office will send appropriate documents, if any, to the applicant to be completed and returned. (Proceed to #4 below)
RECOMMENDATION FOR FURTHER WORK BY THE APPLICANT
If a recommendation for further work by the applicant is made, the AIHEC central office staff will prepare a memo listing areas of concern or application weakness. This memo is transmitted to the applicant and the chairs of the AIHEC Membership and Accreditation Committee and board. The applicant may request technical assistance from the AIHEC central office to aid in addressing areas of concern and application weakness. Technical assistance will be provided to the extent that AIHEC has the capacity and resources.
- The Site Visit—Preparatory Steps
The AIHEC central office staff will work with the applicant institution and the Membership and Accreditation Committee (or Executive Committee) to assign a site visit team and set a date for the site visit.
- The site visit must be completed 45 days prior to the AIHEC board meeting at which the application will be formally considered.
- The cost of the site visit, including team member travel, lodging, and per diem, is the responsibility of the applicant institution. The cost of one site visit to the applicant institution is included in the $4,000.00 application fee, which is required to be submitted along with the formal and complete application form. If additional site visits are recommended or required, the applicant institution must make arrangements with the AIHEC central office to pay all site visit team expenses prior to the scheduling of the additional site visit.
- The Site Visit
The site visit will last a minimum of one day. During the visit, team members will review all the documentation and evidence that support the applicant institution’s eligibility for membership, based on the class of membership criteria established in the AIHEC Bylaws and further explained in the AIHEC Member Handbook, including appendices. The site visit will end with an exit interview with appropriate representatives of the applicant institution and the site visit team.
SAMPLE – SITE VISIT AGENDA
|8:30 a.m.||Introductory Meeting with College President and Key Staff and Faculty Members (Academic Leadership, Chief Financial Officer, Registrar)|
|9:15 a.m.||Tour of Campus and Immediate Area|
|10:00 a.m.||Individual Meetings with Key Staff Members (Academic Leadership, Chief Financial Officer, Registrar)|
|noon||Lunch with College President and available Board Members|
|1:00 p.m.||Continue with Individual Meetings (including Student Representatives)|
|3:15 p.m.||Closed: Site Visit Team Meeting (review and discuss application and visit|
|4:00 p.m.||Exit Interview with College President|
- Written Report & Recommendation
Within 15 days of the site visit, the lead AIHEC board member assigned to applicant institution’s site visit team will prepare a written report and transmit it to the AIHEC central office.
- Committee Review & Action
The written report, supporting documentation, and any written comments from the applicant institution will be submitted to the AIHEC Membership and Accreditation Committee for review and consideration. At a committee meeting held prior to the first AIHEC board meeting immediately preceding the site visit, the committee will consider the application and site visit report and will vote on such application. The committee chair will summarize the committee’s discussion and report the outcome of the committee’s vote to the board of directors (see below).
- Board Consideration
The Membership and Accreditation Committee will report the outcome of its deliberations to the board at the first board of directors meeting immediately following the site visit. The applicant’s chief executive officer, chair of its governing board, and other representatives as deemed appropriate, must attend the meeting at which the membership application is being considered to respond to any questions that board members may have. Following discussion, the board may vote on the application for membership.
- Written Notification
The chair of the AIHEC board, through the AIHEC central office, will send written notification of board action to the chief executive officer of the applicant following the relevant board meeting.
- Dues Payable
Upon acceptance as a member in the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, dues are payable within 30 days to the AIHEC central office per the membership dues schedule. Dues may be prorated as deemed appropriate.
- Denial of Membership
If membership is denied, an applicant institution may remedy the conditions of denial and reapply for consideration at a board meeting within one year of meeting during which membership was denied. The institution may request technical assistance from the AIHEC central office to aid in addressing the conditions of denial and such assistance will be provided to the extent that AIHEC has the capacity and resources.
If an applicant institution does not reapply within one year, then it must apply for membership using the standard application process, including the submission of a new and current application and all appropriate fees. A new site visit will be required.