Accreditation Criteria

All institutions accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) must meet the five criteria for accreditation. These criteria emphasize continuous improvement and assessment of student learning. Each criterion outlined below is composed of several "core components"; refer to the HLC's website for full details on the criteria and core components.  

HLC Criteria for Accreditation:

1. Mission

The institution’s mission is clear and articulated publicly; it guides the institution’s operations.

2. Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct

The institution acts with integrity; its conduct is ethical and responsible.

3. Teaching and Learning: Quality, Quality, Resources, and Support

The institution provides high quality education, wherever and however its offerings are delivered.

4. Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement

The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs, learning environments, and support services, and it evaluates their effectiveness for student learning through processes designed to promote continuous improvement.

5. Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness

The institution’s resources, structures, and processes are sufficient to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its educational offerings, and respond to future challenges and opportunities. The institution plans for the future.

Guiding Values

The current HLC criteria for accreditation were adopted in 2012 and became effective for all institutions as of January 1, 2013. One of the primary guiding values for the current accreditation criteria is a focus on student learning.

A highlighted version of the criteria booklet (dated June 2013)  showing how assessment of student learning and continual improvement are woven throughout the criteria is available for review. As clarifying modifications are considered by the HLC board annually, please refer to the HLC's Policy on Criteria for Accreditation for the most up to date version.