Higher Learning Commission Accreditation
The Criteria for Accreditation and Core Components
The Criteria for Accreditation are the standards of quality by which the Commission determines whether an institution merits accreditation or reaffirmation of accreditation. Below is a summary of the criteria and core components. A comprehensive list is available from the Higher Learning Commission.
Criterion One | Mission
The institution's mission is clear and articulated publicly; it guides the institution's operations.
1.A. The institution's mission is broadly understood within the institution and guides its operations.
1.B. The mission is articulated publicly.
1.C. The institution understands the relationship between its mission and the diversity of society.
1.D. The institution's mission demonstrates commitment to the public good.
Criterion Two | Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct
The institution acts with integrity; its conduct is ethical and responsible.
2.A. The institution operates with integrity in its financial, academic, personnel and auxiliary functions; it establishes and follows fair and ethical policies and processes for its governing board, administration, faculty and staff.
2.B. The institution presents itself clearly and completely to its students and to the public with regard to its programs, requirements, faculty and staff, costs to students, control, and accreditation relationships.
2.C. The governing board of the institution is sufficiently autonomous to make decisions in the best interest of the institution and to assure its integrity.
2.D. The institution is committed to freedom of expression and the pursuit of truth in teaching and learning.
2.E. The institution ensures that faculty, students, and staff acquire, discover, and apply knowledge responsibly.
Criterion Three | Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources and Support
The institution provides high-quality education, wherever and however its offerings are delivered.
3.A. The institution's degree programs are appropriate to higher education.
3.B. The institution demonstrates that the exercise of intellectual inquiry and the acquisition, application, and integration of broad learning and skills are integral to its educational programs.
3.C. The institution has the faculty and staff needed for effective, high-quality programs and student services.
3.D. The institution provides support for student learning and effective teaching.
3.E. The institution fulfills the claims it makes for an enriched educational environment.
Criterion Four | 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.
4.A. The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs.
4.B. The institution demonstrates a commitment to educational achievement and improvement through ongoing assessment of student learning.
4.C. The institution demonstrates a commitment to educational improvement through ongoing attention to retention, persistence and completion rates in its degree and certificate programs.
Criterion Five | 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.
5.A. The institution's resource base supports its current educational programs and its plans for maintaining and strengthening their quality in the future.
5.B. The institution's governance and administrative structures promote effective leadership and support collaborative processes that enable the institution to fulfill its mission.
5.C. The institution engages in systematic and integrated planning.
5.D. The institution works systematically to improve its performance.