Accreditation FAQ's

What is the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)?
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is responsible for the accreditation of colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning. The HLC is one of six regional associations that accredit schools and colleges in the United States. The other five are the Middle States, New England, Northwest, Southern and Western Associations. Although most of the colleges and universities that the HLC accredits are in the upper Midwest, its geographical range extends from West Virginia to Arizona.

What is HLC accreditation?
While many academic agencies accredit particular programs of study (education, engineering, and physician assistant, etc.), the Higher Learning Commission and other regional accrediting agencies are responsible for assuring that colleges and universities meet certain standards in terms of their missions, operations, and activities in teaching and student learning, discovery and promotion of knowledge, and service. Accreditation is an assurance to the public that an institution is properly prepared to do its job. On a more practical level, the HLC and the other accrediting agencies have been designated as the "gatekeepers" for federal funds in higher education including financial aid. Unaccredited schools are not eligible for many kinds of federal support. For more information, see

What does the HLC look for when it accredits colleges and universities?
The HLC has adopted five criteria areas to evaluate colleges and universities:

  • Mission
  • Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct
  • Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support
  • Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement
  • Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness

When is Wichita State's next accreditation site visit?
Wichita State successfully completed its most recent accreditation evaluation in 2016. The next comprehensive evaluation is scheduled for 2026-2027.