In the accreditation process, third-party comment means information provided by one or more individuals who are not speaking or writing officially on behalf of or otherwise officially representing an institution, or who are acting in any capacity on behalf of NAST with regard to that same institution.
The third-party comment process is open only for designated periods during the course of comprehensive NAST accreditation reviews.
Third-party comment is not a substitute for and should not be confused with the NAST procedure for filing complaints regarding member institutions, an option outlined in the NAST Handbook, Rules of Practice and Procedure, Part II, Article VIII., which is not periodic or necessarily linked to a specific NAST review event.
Consistent with Part II, Article IV. of the NAST Rules of Practice and Procedure, a notice indicating opportunity for third-party comment is published on the NAST website for a specific period during the application process for NAST Membership or renewal of Membership. To be considered as part of an NAST accreditation review, third-party comment must be in written form and signed, meet all NAST written eligibility and all other requirements for third-party comment, and be subject to review and written response by the institution being reviewed prior to initial action regarding the Membership or renewal of Membership by the Commission on Accreditation. Consistent with the principles and requirements of Part II., Article XIV. of the Rules of Practice and Procedure, NAST will not make publicly available any information provided in third-party comment or an institution’s response to third-party comment or any correspondence related to third-party comment.
Specific notices of opportunities to file third-party comment are provided approximately five (5) months before Commission review along with the protocols, rules, procedures, forms, and deadlines applicable to that specific filing period. Third-party comment may be filed only within the specific comment period and using the form designated for a date-specific Commission meeting. A schedule of third-party comment periods may be found on the website under Calendar.
For further information, see Rules and Procedures for Third-Party Comment.