The Status of Accreditation

The status of accreditation indicates that an institution has fulfilled the requirements for accreditation established by this Handbook. This means that the institution has:

  1. Demonstrated that it meets the Core Commitments.
  2. Conducted a self-review under the Standards, developed and presented indicators of institutional performance, and identified areas for improvement.
  3. Developed approved institutional reports for accreditation that have been evaluated by teams of reviewers under the relevant institutional review processes.
  4. Demonstrated to the Commission that it meets or exceeds the expectations of the Standards.
  5. Committed itself to institutional improvement, periodic self-evaluation, and continuing compliance with the Standards, policies, procedures, and decisions.

Accreditation is attained following the evaluation of the entire institution and continues until formally withdrawn. It is subject, however, to periodic review and to conditions, as determined by the Commission. Every accredited institution files an Annual Report, provides information for a Mid-Cycle Review, and undergoes a comprehensive self-review and peer review at least every ten years. Initial accreditation, as a matter of Commission policy, requires institutional self-review and peer review no more than six years after the date of the Commission action granting such status. Neither accreditation nor candidacy is retroactive. (Under certain circumstances, the Commission may set the effective date of accreditation up to six months prior to the Commission’s action. See How to Become Accredited on the Commission website.)

As a voluntary, nongovernmental agency, the Commission does not have the responsibility to exercise the regulatory control of state and federal governments or to apply their mandates regarding collective bargaining, affirmative action, health and safety regulations, and the like. Furthermore, the Commission does not enforce the standards of specialized accrediting agencies, the American Association of University Professors, or other nongovernmental organizations, although institutions may wish to review the publications of such agencies as part of the self-review process. The Commission has its own Standards and expects institutions and teams to apply them with integrity, flexibility, and an attitude of humane concern for students and the public interest.

The Standards apply to all institutions in the region. The Standards must be met at least at a minimum level for Candidacy to be granted to institutions seeking initial accreditation. For institutions to be granted initial accreditation and for those seeking reaffirmation of accreditation, the Standards must be met at a substantial level. The Standards define normative expectations and characteristics of excellence and provide a framework for institutional self-review. Depending upon the stage of development of the institution, some components of the Standards may be viewed as of greater or lesser priority.