(a) The council shall make rules for the accreditation of community and technical colleges in this state and shall determine the minimum standards for conferring degrees. The commission shall make rules for the accreditation of colleges in this state except the governing boards of the exempted schools shall make rules for their respective institutions, and each shall determine the minimum standards for conferring degrees. The governing boards of the exempted schools shall promulgate rules pursuant to the provisions of section six, article one of this chapter for the accreditation of their respective institutions.
(b) An institution of higher education may not confer a degree on any basis of work or merit below the minimum standards prescribed by the council or commission.
(c) With the approval of the commission and subject to subsections (e), (f) and (g) of this section, governing boards of institutions which currently offer substantial undergraduate course offerings and a master’s degree in a discipline are authorized to grant baccalaureate degrees in that discipline.
(d) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a charter or other instrument containing the right to confer degrees of higher education status may not be granted by the State of West Virginia to an institution, association or organization within the state, nor may a degree be awarded, until the condition of conferring the degree first has been approved in writing by the council or commission, as appropriate, or by the institution’s governing board in the case of the exempted schools.
(e) To retain the authority to confer degrees pursuant to this section, each institution shall provide annually to the commission or council, as requested, all information the commission or council considers necessary to assess the performance of the institution and to determine whether the institution continues to meet the minimum standards for conferring degrees. This information includes, but is not limited to, the following data:
(1) All information current and future federal or state laws and regulations require the institution to report to the public, to students, to employees or to federal or state agencies;
(2) Other consumer information the commission or council considers necessary, including, but not limited to, graduation and retention rates, transfers, post-graduation placements, loan defaults and numbers and types of student complaints;
(3) A detailed explanation of financial operations including, but not limited to, policies, formulas and procedures related to calculation, payment and refund for all tuition and fees; and
(4) An assessment of the adequacy of the institution’s curriculum, personnel, facilities, materials and equipment to meet the minimum standards for conferring degrees.
(f) The commission and council may conduct on-site reviews to evaluate an institution’s academic standards, may conduct financial audits, or may require the institution to perform these audits and provide detailed data to the commission or council.
(g) The commission or council shall revoke an institution’s authority to confer degrees when the institution’s governing body, chief executive officer, or both, have done any one or more of the following:
(1) Failed to maintain the minimum standards for conferring degrees; or
(2) Willfully provided false, misleading or incomplete information to the commission or council.
(h) The commission and council each shall compile the information collected pursuant to subdivisions (e), (f) and (g) of this section and submit a report on the information to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability annually beginning December 1, 2012. The commission and council each shall make the information and report available to the public in a form and manner that is accessible to the general public, including, but not limited to, posting on its website.