• Becoming Accredited

How to Become Accredited by WSCUC

The Commission has established formal procedures by which institutions can move through the required stages that lead to accreditation. These stages include:

  • Eligibility
  • Initial Accreditation*

Each stage has specific criteria, processes, and time frames. An institution starting the procedures for seeking accreditation should carefully consider the requirements for each step to ensure its understanding of the process and be aware that the time frame may take several years depending on the maturity of institutional development.

*If Initial Accreditation is not achieved after a Seeking Accreditation Visit, Candidacy may be granted.

Steps to Becoming Accredited


There are three things to do to seek initial eligibility.

First, determine if you are ready to seek accreditation by reaching out to the WSCUC Vice President who oversees the eligibility process to discuss your institution’s intent and readiness. Prepare by reviewing the How to Become Accredited Manual.

Second, attend a WSCUC-sponsored workshop that describes the level of readiness expected of the institution at each step as it moves through Eligibility to Initial Accreditation.

Third, submit the Notification of Intent to Apply for Accreditation form. This form triggers the start of the eligibility review process.

Initial Accreditation

Once granted eligibility, the next step is to pursue initial accreditation. This is done by:

Submitting the Application for Accreditation form and associated fee.

Submitting the Letter of Intent.

Filling out and submitting the required supporting documentation.

The Eligibility Review Committee

Eligibility applications are peer-reviewed by the Eligibility Review Committee (ERC).

Learn More About the ERC

Becoming Accredited FAQs

Who may apply for WSCUC accreditation?

Postsecondary institutions for whom substantial portions of the institution’s educational offerings are programs that lead to degrees and that offer one or more programs leading to the baccalaureate or higher degree may apply to the Commission for eligibility. International institutions that have successfully completed the WSCUC Expression of Interest process may also apply.

How many years and visits will it take to become accredited?

WSCUC does not set a number of required visits or years to achieve Initial Accreditation. WSCUC places the emphasis on an institution coming into compliance with its four (4) Standards of Accreditation and accompanying 39 Criteria for Review. See the How to Become Accredited Manual for more information.

What is the process for accreditation?

There are typically three stages to accreditation: (1) Eligibility, (2) Preaccreditation (Candidacy), and (3) Initial Accreditation. Each stage has specific criteria, processes, and timeframes.

Becoming Accredited Resources

The resources listed below are specific to the process of seeking accreditation with WSCUC. You can refine your search by resource type and keyword. As you update the filters the resources below will adjust automatically. To explore all resources, regardless of the audience or resource type, use the main resource search page.


2013 Handbook of Accreditation

The 2013 Handbook is designed to serve several purposes: to present the Commission’s Core Commitments and Standards of Accreditation; to guide institutions through the institutional review process; and to assist review teams at each stage of review.


2023 Handbook of Accreditation

The WSCUC 2023 Handbook provides information on the 2023 Standards, the Institutional Review Process for Reaffirmation, the Thematic Pathway for Reaffirmation (TPR), and Commission Decisions.


Accreditation Management Portal (AMP) Login

Member institutions log in to the Accreditation Management Portal (AMP) to submit their annual reports, request substantive changes, and view invoices. The AMP is also used by institutions to update profile information, institutional contacts, and details related to programs and locations


Becoming Accredited

This page provides information and resources for institutions interested in seeking WSCUC accreditation.


Developing Substantive Change Proposals

Information on Substantive Changes, including how they are defined, and the process for applying for such a change.


Evidence and Data

This page provides access to data on WSCUC accredited institutions, information about WSCUC data initiatives such as peer benchmarking, and highlights of WSCUC’s “Better Conversations, Better Data” initiative.


Key Indicators Dashboard

The Key Indicators Dashboard (KID) presents detailed trend and comparative information on WSCUC’s accredited undergraduate and graduate institutions in a clear, easy to use format. KID displays from federal data sets to present multiple years of metrics, trend data, and comparisons based on both national and WSCUC averages. KID provides integrated, accessible data on institution size and context, student completion, student finances, institution finances, and post-graduation outcomes.


Substantive Change Resources

Information on how institutions need to report and seek approval of changes to their mission, educational programs, scope, control or organizational structure.


WSCUC 2023 Standards of Accreditation

The 2023 Standards are designed to advance quality, accountability, and improvement in service of equitable student learning, student success, and institutional effectiveness. They establish the foundational values and broad principles of good practice by which an institution achieves and maintains accreditation with WSCUC and also form the basis for institutional review.


2020 ALO Forum – Change and Change Agents

The ALO Forum is an annual event and part of the ARC. The topic, "Change and Change Agents," was presented as a webinar hosted by WSCUC on May 28, 2020. Panelists discussed the impact and changes resulting from present circumstances. Included are links to the webinar recording, notes from forum panel, and the 2020 ALO forum survey feedback.