Substantial Equivalency


“Substantial Equivalency” reviews of music programs leading to degrees and other credentials at all levels are conducted by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) upon request by institutions outside the United States and its territories. While these reviews follow evaluative policies and procedures used for accreditation, no accreditation action is taken, nor is there any inference that a program is undergoing an accreditation review or will be accredited as a result of such review. The activity is a process in which NASM, through selected representatives, conducts a program review which may lead to an assessment of Substantial Equivalency of the program under review with accredited programs in the United States.

Substantial Equivalency refers only to educational programs, including all resources associated with the delivery of educational programs, and means comparable in program content and educational experience. However, such programs may not be absolutely identical in format or method of delivery. It implies reasonable confidence that graduates possess the competencies expected of those holding particular U.S. degrees and credentials, or needed to begin professional practice at the entry level.

Substantial Equivalency does not indicate equivalency in matters of institutional organization, governance, and other operational matters. All issues considered are associated with program reviews.

Further information regarding Substantial Equivalency evaluations can be found in the document below.

Substantial Equivalency Fees

It is NASM policy that the “substantially equivalent” review process will be self-sustaining financially from fees charged to the requesting institution; no NASM funds will be used to support this operation. The fee schedule for international visits is subject to changes reflected in economic conditions. The fee schedule also covers annual expenses related to the maintenance and upkeep of the administrative process that supports “substantially equivalent” programs.

To comply with U.S. Internal Revenue Service laws, all payments shall be made to NASM in U.S. currency which will, in turn, be used to reimburse on-site reviewers for travel expenses and pay honoraria. NASM will issue IRS Form 1099 to all reviewers receiving honoraria as appropriate.

On-Site Visit Fees

The following fees and expenses normally will apply to all international visits and are the responsibility of the host institution:

  1. Travel and associated expenses for all reviewers and staff (if attending), including air fare at business-class level with the exception of visits to Canada and Mexico. Air travel within the United States and to/from Canada and Mexico shall be booked at economy plus class level or its equivalent. Ground transportation, such as railroad, will be first-class. Associated expenses include, but are not limited to, all housing, meals, transportation, appropriate insurances, taxes, tariffs, and related incidentals, such as the cost of visas.
  2. An honorarium of U.S. $1,000 per reviewer and U.S. $1,500 for the team chair. NASM staff, if any, involved in “substantial equivalency” reviews, will receive no honorarium.
  3. An administrative fee of U.S. $1,000 per review.
  4. A deposit, to be set by the NASM National Office staff and confirmed to the host institution, sufficient to cover all reasonable direct and indirect costs of the review, including translation expenses and those outlined in items 1. and 2. above, with a floor of U.S. $1,000 per reviewer, not including staff. The total deposit amount charged to the host institution will not exceed U.S. $7,500. Should actual costs exceed the amount of the deposit paid, the host institution will be billed for any/all remaining costs. After all costs related to the review have been paid, should the actual costs be less than the deposit on hand, the remaining balance of funds will be returned to the institution.
  5. The administrative fee and deposit will be billed to the host institution after NASM has received the institution’s request to apply and confirmed its eligibility. Applications will be processed only upon receipt of invoiced fees.

Substantial Equivalency Annual Maintenance Fee

For 2017-2018 a fee of U.S. $1,728 per institution is required to cover expenses related to the continuing maintenance of “substantially equivalent” data files, review of institutional materials, and the publication and distribution of an annual listing of “substantially equivalent” programs. Institutions will be billed annually by NASM. Fees will rise each year by the same percentage as institutional dues for NASM accredited member institutions.

Consultative Assistance

Apart from “substantial equivalency” reviews, and on occasion, NASM is requested to provide one or more consultants to conduct seminars, provide general information on accreditation, and offer other similar services. In such cases, it is NASM policy to charge a fee of U.S. $550 per day per consultant ($500 for the consultant, $50 National Office administrative fee), plus travel expenses for the consultant(s). Consultant visits will follow typical NASM procedures for such visits. All requirements regarding travel and insurance for reviewers described herein apply as well to NASM consultants.