Mythbusters: 2019 Annual Reporting Edition

CEPH opened the web portal for the 2019 annual report from schools and programs this week, so it’s a good time to clarify some myths related to the annual report. If you’ve heard other myths, rumors, or urban legends about the annual report, please contact CEPH staff (submissions@ceph.org) to get your questions answered.

MYTH: My school has a reaccreditation site visit next year and we’re currently writing our self-study, so we don’t have to complete the annual report this year.

TRUTH: All accredited schools and programs must complete the annual report every year after the year of the initial accreditation decision.


MYTH: My program just had a reaccreditation site visit and we’re waiting on our accreditation decision, so we don’t have to complete the annual report this year.

TRUTH: All accredited schools and programs must complete the annual report every year after the year of the initial accreditation decision.


MYTH: My program has an interim report due about a topic addressed in the annual report (graduation rates), so we don’t have to complete the annual report this year.

TRUTH: All accredited schools and programs must complete the annual report every year after the year of the initial accreditation decision.


MYTH: We are required to collect post-graduation outcomes exactly 12 months after graduation.

TRUTH: The criteria state that graduates have up to one year to secure employment or pursue further education. Schools and programs should balance response rates (which tend to be higher closer to graduation) with an accurate picture of graduates' abilities to secure employment (which may require more time after graduation). Note that CEPH does not require that data collection occur through traditional/formal survey methods or that data be collected at a single point in time. Some schools and programs prefer to collect information throughout students' final semester and during the first year post-graduation, updating data as each individual secures employment or proceeds to another education/training program. Such an approach allows schools and programs to present more accurate data as some secure employment or admission to further education before graduating and some take some time after graduation to do so.


MYTH: My school/program is an ASPPH member, so we can report through ASPPH instead of CEPH.

TRUTH: While CEPH and ASPPH both collect an annual report, the content and purposes of each are different. CEPH is mandated by the US Department of Education to monitor specific indicators on an annual basis to ensure ongoing compliance with the criteria. ASPPH uses its annual report to support its members, such as by warehousing data, to produce aggregate data for benchmarking and decision making, and to provide the field with education research. CEPH encourages ASPPH members to complete both annual reports, but there is no substitute for the CEPH annual report.


MYTH: We have data on post-graduation outcomes for 40% of grads, and this exceeds CEPH’s required threshold, so we don’t have to pursue responses from any additional graduates.

TRUTH: The Council has not set a specific threshold for response rates for graduate-level schools (SPH) and programs (PHP). Instead the criteria state that “The school or program chooses methods that are explicitly designed to minimize the number of students with unknown outcomes.” The Council considers each unit’s context and efforts when determining whether a sufficient number of graduate outcomes are known. The annual reporting system flags any response rate below 50% for additional consideration within the unit’s context – if you have response rates below 50%, it is important to provide an explanation for why and how you plan to improve these rates going forward.


MYTH: This is the only resource from CEPH about how to complete and submit the annual report.

TRUTH: CEPH is offering a free, informational “how-to” webinar about annual reporting on October 2 from 2-3 pm Eastern. Click here to register


We also have an annual reporting FAQ page, and are happy to answer unit-specific questions at submissions@ceph.org.

Written by: Kristen Varol, MPH, CHES