Resources for the Public
The Commission publishes the names of affiliated institutions and maintains a Statement of Affiliation Status and an Organizational Profile for each institution. The Statement of Affiliation Status contains a summary of the institution’s official relationship with the Commission. The Organizational Profile contains information on the college or university’s characteristics taken from the annual report submitted by the institution to the Commission.
Since the Higher Learning Commission accredits entire institutions rather than individual programs within those institutions, HLC does not maintain a list of external programs offered.
The Commission publishes an Overview booklet that 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.
Expectations of Institutions Regarding Information Available to Students and the Public. One of the ways the Commission fulfills its mission to “serve the common good” is by requiring that its accredited and candidate institutions provide accurate and complete information to current and prospective students and other members of the public. These requirements have been drawn from several Commission policies to emphasize the Commission’s expectations in this important area.
A large number of accredited institutions offer one or more programs through distance delivery. One online resource for information on distance education is the Peterson’s guide. Another is the U.S. Department of Education's College Navigator.
Be sure to verify the current accreditation status of any institution that you select.
Numerous online institutions are either unaccredited or are accredited by agencies that are not recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. To check on the legitimacy of any accrediting agency, call the U.S. Department of Education at 202.219.7011.
Please note that these links are provided for informational purposes only.
Comprehensive Visit List
The Commission publishes information on the Commission’s upcoming campus visits to help inform the public about the status of affiliated institutions.
Third-Party Comment on an Upcoming Visit
As part of its ongoing effort to make the accreditation process responsive to a broad range of constituents, the Commission has integrated the federally required third-party comment process into its regular accrediting processes.
Since the 1997–1998 academic year, the Commission has required institutions undergoing comprehensive evaluation (initial or continued candidacy or accreditation) to publish basic information about the visit in appropriate publications and invite the public to provide written comments to the Commission.
Actions on Institutions
From time to time, the Commission may apply a sanction against an affiliated institution. Currently, the Commission has two sanctions: placed on notice and probation.
Placed on Notice
An institution is placed on notice if it is found to be pursuing a course of action that could result in its being unable to meet one or more Criteria for Accreditation. Only the Board of Trustees, acting on a recommendation made to it, can place an institution on notice. The period for on notice is no longer than two years.
Probation signifies that conditions exist at an accredited institution that endanger its ability to meet one or more of the Commission’s Criteria for Accreditation. Only the Board of Trustees, acting on a recommendation, can place an institution on probation.
In placing an institution on probation, the Board identifies in the institution’s Statement of Affiliation Status the specific conditions that led to probation and the date of the next comprehensive evaluation, at which time the institution must provide clear evidence of its progress toward ameliorating those conditions. The maximum period of probation is two years.
Denial of Affiliation
The Board of Trustees may deny candidate or accredited status to an institution when an evaluation team or Review Committee recommends that such affiliation be denied. The Board provides the rationale for the decision to the institution and makes it available to the public.
Withdrawal of Affiliation
An institution loses its affiliation with the Commission as a result of action taken by the Board of Trustees following a visit within the year preceding the Board’s action to withdraw affiliation or upon recommendation of the president, if a visit has occurred within the year preceding.
- An institution may lose its affiliation if it fails to meet one or more of the Criteria for Accreditation.
- An institution may lose its affiliation if it fails to meet the Obligations of Affiliation within a designated time after being warned in writing of noncompliance.
- An institution loses its affiliation if it ceases to operate as an educational institution, unless it makes special arrangements with the Commission.
Resignation from Affiliation
Affiliation with the Commission is voluntary, and an institution may resign its affiliation at any time. Because resignation terminates candidate or accredited status, it must be initiated by action of the legally designated governing body of the institution. Within thirty days, the Commission issues a public disclosure notice that describes the resignation, including resignation based on the closing of the institution.
Browse the Commission’s Frequently Asked Questions for more information.