Overview of Accreditation

HLC 2021 Accreditation

Overview of Institutional Accreditation

Accreditation is the process used in U.S. education to ensure that schools, postsecondary institutions, and other education providers meet, and maintain, acceptable levels of quality.  Quality Assurance is one of three main elements in the Higher Education Act's (HEA's) federal student aid programs.  In order for students to receive federal student aid from the U.S. Department of Education for postsecondary study, the University of Arizona must maintain its accreditation status with a recognized accreditor.  The regional accreditor for University of Arizona is the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). 

The Department of Education recognizes HLC to be a reliable agency and designates the role of gate-keeper to institutions that want access to federal student aid programs under the HEA.  Thus, being accredited has public value and benefit.  HLC is expected to develop evaluation criteria and conduct peer evaluations to assess whether or not those criteria are met.   This process is voluntary and based on the principle of academic self-governance.  We request for HLC to evaluate the programs at UA and to judge that we meet the criteria for accreditation.  Maintaining accreditation status also confirms to parents, students, and employers that UA meets acceptable educational standards.  

Primary accrediting activities include:

  1. Standards:  The Higher Learning Commission establishes and periodically refines its standards and policies to be followed by all successful candidates for accreditation or re-accreditation.
  2. Self-Study:  UA prepares an in-depth self-evaluation report that measures performances with the standards set by HLC. 
  3. Site-Visit:  A peer review team selected by HLC does an on-site program inspection and reviews the self-study report. 
  4. Decision and Publication:  T Upon favorable recommendation by the peer review team, HLC grants reaccreditation and lists UA in their official publication of accredited institutions.  
  5. Monitoring: HLC continues to monitor UA throughout the accreditation period. 
  6. Reevaluation:  HLC sets a date to reevaluate UA to ascertain whether continuation of UA's accredited status is warranted. 

Coming Soon | Be prepared to know:

  • Information for Students
  • Information for Faculty
  • Information for Administrators
  • Information for Staff