Higher Learning Commission may be the next regional accreditor to expand service area

by Jeremy

Dive Brief:

Dive Insight:

HLC would join at least three other regional accreditors in formally expanding their service areas in light of federal regulations that went into effect last summer, eliminating their geographic boundaries. The oversight provided by the seven regional accreditors is considered the premier form of accreditation in the U.S.


WASC Senior College and University Commission, which has historically accredited colleges in the Western U.S., was the first to announce it was dropping its regional boundaries. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education, long focused on the mid-Atlantic states, followed several months later. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities also recently did the same.

HLC has the most extensive service area of the regional accreditors, spanning the Great Lakes region and the central U.S.

Its president, Barbara Gellman-Danley, said the regulatory change and its completion of a new strategic plan moved the accreditor into a phase of business development, spurring the decision.

HLC is also considering an accelerated approval process for qualifying schools, allowing them to skip the candidacy status period. Institutions can’t have received an adverse action such as a sanction or show-cause order with their current accreditor for at least a decade, among other criteria.

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