Higher Learning Commission

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Higher Learning Commission Publications

The Higher Learning Commission has developed educational materials for administrators and peer reviewers to help them in their role as part of the accreditation process.

Institutional Accreditation: An Overview, 2010 Edition

This booklet provides brief general information about the accreditation of higher learning organizations by The Higher Learning Commission, the Criteria for Accreditation, frequently asked questions, and resources. It is designed as a resource for institutions to help communicate with their community about the accreditation process.  

Policy Book

The Commission has a number of institutional policies that affect the affiliation of colleges and universities with the Commission. The policy book is updated throughout the year. 


The Commission adheres to the following Bylaws which were approved in 2010.


Commission Statement on Accreditation of High Schools

The Commission provides guidance for institutions and peer reviewers in its Statement on Peer Reviewers Serving as Independent Consultants or on Mock Teams to Institutions that are Accredited by or Seeking Accreditation with the Commission.

Commission resource document on Student Learning, Assessment, and Accreditation

Submitting Required Materials

Prior to accreditation-related reviews, the institution provides the peer reviewers and the Commission with a set of required materials. Beginning in Fall 2011, these materials must be submitted electronically in PDF format for the majority of evaluations.  

Required Materials and Submission Procedures: PEAQ Comprehensive Visit
Required Materials and Submission Procedures: PEAQ and AQIP Change Visit
Required Materials and Submission Procedures: Focused Visit

Visiting Institutions During the Current Economic Crisis

The Commission recently issued a paper providing advice for HLC Peer Reviewers when visiting institutions during the current economic crisis.

A Collection of Papers on Self-Study and Institutional Improvement

The Commission publishes an annual collection of papers based on the presentations from the Annual Conference. The collection may be purchased by emailing the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Guidelines and Principles of Good Practice

The Commission has developed information on good practice throughout the accreditation process. The following tools should provide guidance on improving quality education.

Commission Endorses Guidelines on Assessment

The Higher Learning Commission has endorsed guidelines, Committing to Quality: Guidelines for Assessment and Accountability, published by the New Leadership Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability in 2012.  The guidelines help colleges and universities in improving the quality of a college degree by asking them to set clear goals for student achievement, regularly gather and use evidence that measures performance against those goals, report evidence of student learning, and continuously work to improve results.  

Guidelines for the Evaluation of Distance Education (On-line Learning)

This document was developed in 2009 by the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions (C-RAC). The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is a member of C-RAC. HLC provides these guidelines as a resource for its affiliated institutions and its Peer Review Corps.

Report of the Task Force on the Professional Doctorate

The Commission developed a Task Force on the Professional Doctorate and called on it to study the current trends and growth in creation of professional doctorates and to develop recommendations. The recommendations are organized into three overarching issues: institutional context, program content, and shared quality assurance.

Principles of Good Practice in Overseas International Education Programs for Non-U.S. Nationals

These principles, initially developed through the Council of Postsecondary Accreditation and endorsed by all regional accrediting commissions in 1990, have informed the reviews of scores of international educational ventures. The principles speak to matters that deserve the scrutiny of all institutions engaged in or planning to engage in developing campuses or moving educational programs abroad.