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What is the Higher Learning Commission?
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is an independent corporation that was founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. The HLC accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the United States.
What is accreditation?
The goal of accreditation is to assure students, as well as parents and employers, that a college or university provides a quality educational experience.
How is accreditation earned?
Accreditors develop their own standards, or criteria, for accreditation and regularly conduct evaluations to assess whether those criteria are being met. Institutions and/or programs that meet an accreditor's criteria may become accredited after a process of evaluation called candidacy.
Why is accreditation important?
Accreditation provides current and potential students assurance that they are receiving a quality education that will be recognized as such by potential employers or licensing boards as well as by other colleges or universities in case the student transfers or pursues a higher degree. Also, employer-paid tuition reimbursement programs often require that employee participants enroll in accredited institutions. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Education recognizes accreditation as a marker to allow the institution to disperse federal (Title IV) student financial aid.
What is the difference between the HLC and other accreditors?
There are institutional accrediting agencies, such as the HLC, that look at the college or university as a whole, and there are programmatic or specialized accrediting agencies that focus only on specific academic programs. Colleges and universities can have multiple accreditations. The U.S. Department of Education has a list of recognized accrediting agencies.
What are the components of a comprehensive evaluation?
A comprehensive evaluation may include the following components: