"Purpose (as presented on The Department of Education
The purpose of the National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and
Accreditation (NCFMEA) is to review the standards used by foreign countries
to accredit medical schools and determine whether those standards are comparable
to standards used to accredit medical schools in the United States. The
committee’s function is specified in section 102(a)(2)(B) of the Higher
Education Act, as amended."
"REVIEW PROCEDURES (as presented on the Department Website)
The information below provides a brief overview of the process used by the U.S.
Department of Education and the National Committee on Foreign Medical Education
and Accreditation (NCFMEA) for reviewing a foreign country's standards for
accreditation of its medical schools.
Step 1: Submission of Information
When a country contacts the U.S. Department of Education (Department) and asks
to have its accreditation standards reviewed, the Department works with the
country to provide a user id and password for its e-Recognition system. The
Department requests that the country submit answers to the questions found in
the NCFMEA Guidelines regarding the country’s accreditation standards and
processes and their effective application. Countries must also provide
supporting documents (e.g., copies of statute and regulations, standards,
examples of site visits, etc.) in English. All submissions must be in English.
Step 2: Staff Analysis
A Department staff member is assigned to review the information and documents.
If the submission is insufficient, the Department requests additional
information and/or documents. The staff member then prepares an analysis, based
on the documentation provided by the country, of the comparability of the
country's standards to those used in the United States for accrediting medical
schools. A copy of the staff analysis is sent to the country for review and
Step 3: Advance Materials to NCFMEA Members
Approximately two weeks before the NCFMEA meeting, the Department transmits
copies of the staff analysis, supporting documentation, and the country's
response to the staff analysis (if any) to the NCFMEA members for their review
prior to their meeting.
Step 4: NCFMEA Meeting -- Public Session
For each country on the meeting agenda, a Department staff member presents an
overview of the analysis of the country's accreditation standards and processes
to the Committee members and answers any questions Committee members might have.
After the staff presentation, any official representatives of the country are
given the opportunity to present information and answer any questions posed by
Step 5: NCFMEA Meeting -- Executive Session
After the presentations by Department staff and country representatives (if
any), the Committee goes into executive session, which is open to official
representative(s) of the country but is closed to members of the public. During
this executive session, the Committee discusses the country's accreditation
standards and procedures and then makes a determination as to whether the
country's system for accrediting medical schools is comparable to the system
used in the United States.
Step 6: Secretary's Letters regarding NCFMEA Decisions
The decisions reached by the NCFMEA at its meeting are kept confidential until
the U.S. Secretary of Education reviews the decisions and issues official
notification to the countries. After the Secretary letters are faxed and mailed
to the countries, and the U.S. Department of State is advised of the NCFMEA
decisions, those decisions are made available to the public.
Step 7: Implementation of Decisions
An accredited medical school in a country determined to have comparable
standards may apply to the Department to participate in Direct Loans. The
institution's application and supporting documentation (such as proof of
accreditation, financial statements, etc.) are reviewed by the Department's
Foreign Schools Team to determine whether the institution meets the regulatory
requirements to participate in Direct Loans. If the institution does meet the
requirements, it must sign a Program Participation Agreement with the
Department. After that agreement is executed, American students who attend that
medical school may apply to receive loans under the Direct Loan Program.
Attached is the latest revision of the NCFMEA Guidelines that the committee
approved at its September 2009 meeting that reflects the recommendations
contained within its 2009 report to Congress and the Secretary of Education.
NCFMEA Guidelines (September 2009)
IAOMC has conducted an ongoing effort to have a complete Data bank of Countries
with accreditation standards comparable to the United States. In August 2007 a
Freedom of information request served on the U.S. Department of Education for,
The last submission and/or documentation by all countries
for recognition by the department that the medical schools chartered within
that country are governed by accreditation standards that are comparable to
the United States.
The staff’s recommendation to the committee.
The countries responses
The U.S. Secretary of Education’s official notification
of the Department’s findings.
The Department provided a few files, but many were not
provided. A Department Appeal was taken. Additional documents were received but
again, many were missing. A lawsuit was brought in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of New York. Again, more documents were
produced. The court has reached a thirty four page decision. To comply with that
decision the Department has provided an additional 1,857 pages on 13 countries
up to September 2007.
As it was believed there were additional records that should have been produced
an appeal was taken to the U. S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals. The Assistant
U.S. Attorney General and Department Counsel then agreed to full openness and
transparency. They produced a very large number of additional files and the
lawsuit for discovery to September 2007 was discontinued.
A new Freedom Of Information is planned. NCFMEA now places the last meetings
staff analysis on its website. A copy is then placed on this website. IAOMC will
request additional documents from October 2007 to date.