HLC and Accreditation FAQ

Ferris State University will host its next reaffirmation of accreditation visit during the 2020-2021 academic year.

What is HLC?

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. HLC accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the North Central region, which includes the following 19 states including Michigan. 

What is accreditation?

Accreditation is formal recognition of the quality of an educational institution. Accreditation is granted by HLC as a result of a systematic evaluation of the institution as a whole. Their evaluation will include a review of educational activities, governance, administration, financial stability, admissions, student services, institutional resources, student learning, institutional effectiveness, and relationships with internal and external constituencies.

Why is institutional accreditation important?

Institutional accreditation provides recognition that an institution meets certain quality standards. Accreditation means that credits and degrees earned will be respected by employers and other educational institutions. Accreditation facilitates transferability of coursework and it provides access to student financial aid and certain federal funding opportunities.

How do we maintain our accreditation status?

HLC offers three pathways for maintaining accredited status: Standard, AQIP and Open. Ferris State University follows the Open Pathway which includes a quality initiative in Years 5 through 9 and a comprehensive evaluation in year 10.

What are the components of the comprehensive evaluation?

For all institutions, a comprehensive evaluation includes the following components:

When will Ferris State University undergo this process?

HLC conducts comprehensive evaluations of member institutions to confirm that the institution continues to meet the Criteria for Accreditation, is pursuing institutional improvement and complies with requirements sets by the U.S. Department of Education. Evaluations are conducted by teams of peer reviewers.

For Ferris, this comprehensive evaluation will occurs in the final year of the Open Pathway cycle during the academic year 2020-2021.

What are the criteria on which the institution will be judged?

The Criteria for Accreditation are organized under five major headings. Each criterion consists of a Criterion Statement, Core Components, and, in some cases, sub-components.

  • Criterion 1. Mission: The institution’s mission is clear and articulated publicly; it guides the institution’s operations.
  • Criterion 2. Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct: The institution acts with integrity; its conduct is ethical and responsible.
  • Criterion 3. Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support: The institution provides high quality education, wherever and however its offerings are delivered.
  • Criterion 4. Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement: The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs, learning environments, and support services, and it evaluates their effectiveness for student learning through processes designed to promote continuous improvement.
  • Criterion 5. Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness: The institution’s resources, structures, and processes are sufficient to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its educational offerings, and respond to future challenges and opportunities. The institution plans for the future.