The COA follows its policies and procedures in providing programs’ accreditation related information to the public. The policies and procedures are consistent with the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognition requirements for accrediting agencies. Maintaining confidentiality within the accreditation process promotes candor. Assurance of confidentiality allows programs to submit sensitive and sometimes proprietary information without fear that it will be disclosed outside the accreditation process. Disclosure of programs accreditation information outside the accreditation process would have a “chilling effect” on the COA’s ability to receive full and frank information and would ultimately reduce confidence in the quality assurance aspect of accreditation.