*What is Accreditation?
Accreditation is a process of peer review that the educational community has adopted for its self-regulation since early in the 20th century. It is a voluntary process intended to strengthen and sustain the quality and integrity of higher education, making it worthy of public confidence. Institutions choose to apply for accredited status, and once accredited, they agree to abide by the standards of their accrediting organization and to regulate themselves by taking responsibility for their own improvement.
*What Does it Mean to be Accredited?
Middle States accreditation is an expression of confidence in an institution’s mission and goals, its performance, and its resources. An institution is accredited when the educational community has verified that its goals are achieved through self-regulation and peer review. The extent to which each educational institution accepts and fulfills the responsibilities inherent in the process of accreditation is a measure of its commitment to striving for and achieving excellence in its endeavors.
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education Accreditation Standards and Requirements of Affiliation are comprised of seven standards and fifteen requirements which serve as an ongoing guide for those institutions considering application for membership, those accepted as candidate institutions, and those accredited institutions engaged in self-review and peer evaluation.
Based upon the results of an institutional review by a team of peers assigned by the Commission, accreditation attests to the judgment of the Commission that an institution has met the following criteria:
that it has a mission appropriate to higher education;
that it is guided by well-defined and appropriate goals, including goals for student learning;
that it has established conditions and procedures under which its mission and goals can be realized;
that it assesses both institutional effectiveness and student learning outcomes, and uses the results for improvement;
that it is accomplishing its mission and goals substantially;
that it is so organized, staffed, and supported so that it can be expected to continue to accomplish its mission and goals;
that it meets the eligibility requirements and the standards for accreditation of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education;
Accredited institutions are expected to demonstrate compliance with these standards and requirements, to conduct their activities in a manner consistent with the standards and requirements, and to engage in ongoing processes of self-review and improvement.
*excerpted from MSCHE and MSCHE Standards for Accreditation and Requirements of Affiliation