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Idaho State Accreditation Informational Series: Who is Our Accreditor?

March 18, 2021

Welcome to our series on accreditation! ISU’s institutional accreditation site visit is scheduled for October 5-7, 2021. To answer your questions on this process and its importance to ISU, we have prepared a series of questions and answers that will appear in ISU Today over the next few months. We begin with “who is our accreditor?”

Who is our accreditor?

The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) is ISU’s institutional accreditor. NWCCU accredits institutions in Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. A directory of institutions accredited by NWCCU is available here

Other institutional accreditors include: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE); Higher Learning Commission (HLC); Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE); Southern Association on Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC); and WASC Senior College and University Commission. These private, nonprofit organizations are members of the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions (C-RAC). A history of accreditation in the United States is available on the U.S. Department of Education’s website

Institutional accreditation involves a peer-review process that evaluates the institutions’ compliance with a set of standards. The process begins with an extensive self-study followed by an on-site visit by a peer review team. This rigorous process assesses the quality of educational programming and encourages a culture of continuous improvement. As C-RAC’s website states, “the primary focus for C-RAC members is to assure postsecondary quality and protect students.”

NWCCU accredits ISU as an institution. In addition, some of ISU’s programs have specialized or programmatic accreditation. A list of ISU programs with specialized accreditation is available on this page under “Program Review Schedule.”

Please direct questions about our upcoming accreditation to Darren Blagburn, Cindy Hill, Stefanie Shadduck, or Joanne Tokle.

Next in this series: what does accreditation mean for ISU?