FAQs for HLC Accreditation
Accreditation provides assurance that an institution has been found to meet, and will continue to meet, stated requirements and criteria. Accreditation also allows the institution to self-reflect towards continuous improvement.
Accreditation is the process whereby an outside organization certifies a college or university as meeting certain requirements of excellence. Accreditation is an important “stamp of approval.” Accredited colleges and universities have proven to their peers that they are deeply committed to educational quality and improvement.
Only accredited institutions are eligible to receive federal funds for higher education, including student financial aid and research funds. Accreditation also ensures students the ability to transfer credits between accredited schools, and some graduate schools only accept students with degrees from accredited schools.
There are many good reasons to attend an accredited institution. Here are a few of them:
- Quality education: accredited colleges and universities deliver high quality educational programs
- Financial aid: accredited schools receive federal student financial aid dollars
- Transfer: most schools will only accept transfer credits from an accredited school
- Graduate school: most graduate programs will only accept students with degrees from accredited schools
During this visit, a team of consultant-evaluators representing HLC—all of whom are affiliated with an accredited college or university—will interview students, faculty, and staff, read and review documents and data and tour the campus. The purpose of the visit is to validate the evidence and examples contained in the written report (Assurance Argument) and to make recommendations to HLC concerning continued accreditation.
The team provides a preliminary recommendation during the exit interview on the third day, with a final decision from the HLC Board presented in summer 2023.
The university will submit an Assurance Filing made up of an Assurance Argument that has links to materials in an Evidence File. This filing will be submitted to the HLC prior to the site visit. The Assurance Argument is organized by the Criteria and their Core Components.
You may be asked to provide evidence for the criteria and core components. In addition, at the request of the HLC peer review team, you may be asked to attend scheduled meetings on the days of the visit. It is important that all faculty, staff and students are present on both March 13, 2023 and March 14, 2023.
Also, closer to the visit, HLC will conduct a student survey. As a faculty or staff member, we all need to help communicate the importance of this survey to our students.
The self-study process is meant to reflect the opinions, values, and experiences of our campus community. In the Fall of 2022, a final draft of the self- study report will be available to the entire AU community on this website. We encourage you to read this draft and to provide feedback.