The Accreditation Council on Optometric Education’s (ACOE) accreditation process includes an evaluation site visit conducted at the program site prior to granting an accreditation status. 

COVID-19 update: during the ongoing pandemic, ACOE is conducting its site visits virtually.  In accordance with guidance from the U.S. Department of Education, when required the virtual site visit will be followed by an onsite visit to be conducted in future when travel has been deemed safe. 

The ACOE’s Calendar of Upcoming site visits is updated periodically.

ACOE's accreditation process includes the consideration of complaints and third-party comments about accredited programs. Policies and procedures regarding both are explained more fully in the Accreditation Manuals which are available on the Accreditation Resources page.

Complaints

The Accreditation Council on Optometric Education does not serve as an arbiter or mediator of disputes that may arise between the programs and other parties.  However, the Council is interested in hearing from groups or individuals who may have specific complaints relating directly to an alleged lack of compliance with the accreditation standards and/or procedures of the Council.

An individual or group desiring to file a complaint with the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education shall submit the complaint in writing, signed by the complainant, to the Director or the Chair of the Council.  The complaint must be specific in detail and include all information the complainant wishes considered.  Upon request and if possible, the Council may withhold or protect the identity of the complainant.

Complaints received by the Council that do not relate to the standards of accreditation or that do not have sufficient documentation to warrant an investigation will be disposed of in an appropriate manner at the discretion of the ACOE Executive Committee, which is composed of the ACOE Chair, Vice-Chair and Director.  If it is determined that no investigation is warranted, the complainant shall be so informed. 

Upon receipt of a relevant complaint, the Council will forward within 20 business days a copy to the chief executive officer of the program for response. If an on-site evaluation is scheduled to begin within 90 days of the receipt of the complaint, the Council will also refer the complaint to the chair of the evaluation team visiting the program for investigation and action during the regular course of the evaluation process. 

Third-party Comments 

Third-party comments must address substantive matters relating to the quality of the program and the ACOE standards and should be addressed to the Director of the Council at ACOE, 243 N. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, MO  63141.  Comments must be received 30 days prior to the program’s scheduled site visit date.  (In cases where the exact date is not yet determined when the listing is published, the month and year of the visit will be listed, and the comments must be received by not later than the first day of the month preceding the site visit.  All third-party comments must be signed.)  

Comments will be forwarded to the evaluation team and to the appropriate program director for response during the evaluation visit process.

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