Importance of Accreditation

Text explaining why accreditation is important.

Institutional Accreditation

Colorado State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) , a historically regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Institutional accreditation by the HLC provides assurance to prospective students and other constituents that course credits and degrees earned from the institution meet quality standards. Accreditation is a requirement for federal financial aid and may be a requirement for some employment opportunities, professional licensure and graduate education.

CSU participates in the Open Pathway: one of three options institutions have with HLC to maintain accreditation.  It follows a 10-year cycle and, like all pathways, is focused on quality assurance and institutional improvement. The process includes regular monitoring, an assurance review in year four, completion of a quality initiative in years five through nine and a comprehensive evaluation in year 10.

Specialized Accreditation

All academic/professional degrees and all course credits earned at CSU are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. In addition, many of CSU’s academic programs are accredited through professional organizations in their disciplines.  

The Specialized Accreditation Schedule provides a listing of accredited programs as well as the corresponding dates for reaccreditation.  Disciplinary accreditation can be important for future employment or admission to graduate school.

Specialized accreditation is especially common if the program is intended to prepare graduates for an occupation requiring licensure.  Before enrolling in such a program, students should verify the program actually meets the requirements of the state in which they intend to practice.      


2024 Institutional Reaccreditation

Process & Timeline

Colorado State University is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

The HLC is an independent corporation that was founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States.  The HLC is governed by a Board of Trustees elected by the membership and administered by a president selected by and accountable to that Board. It accredits degree-granting post-secondary institutions and may be contacted at:

Higher Learning Commission
230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, Illinois 60604-1413
Phone: 800.621.7440 / 312.263.0456 . Fax: 312.263.7462 . Email:

CSU has begun the process of preparing for university reaccreditation in 2024, and we will be embarking on an intensive self-study in order to meet the requirements and rigorous evaluation process by the HLC. The President’s Operational Leadership Team will serve as the Steering Committee to lead the process of accreditation, and we have hired a University Fellow, Susan Matthews, to assist Vice Provost for Planning and Effectiveness Laura Jensen, including preparing the self-study drafts and final report. 

Key Dates

CSU’s Self-Study Report
Due to HLC Accreditation Team
Summer 2023

HLC Accreditation Team
On-Site Visit
Sept. 18-19, 2023

HLC On-Site Visit

Core Themes

As we embark on our process of reaccreditation, we are guided in principle, vision and values by the high-level blueprint of CSU’s Courageous Strategic Transformation (CST), which launched in March 2022 and lays the groundwork for carrying us forward to build on the future of our institution, students, community and planet. We have identified four core themes to align our pursuit of reaccreditation with the roadmap of the CST. The themes, as derived from among four strategic imperatives (People, Operations, Innovation, Impact) and 21 accompanying priorities in CSU’s 2022-2026 Strategic Plan, are: Education that Evolves, Ensure Student Access and Success, Critical Thinking for Life and Everyone Belongs.

Education that Evolves

We will craft and implement a dynamic Academic Master Plan that will establish CSU as a leader in higher education providing critical knowledge, skills and competencies, and we will build the infrastructure to rapidly adjust curricular and educational and delivery approaches to allow our learners to thrive in the 21st-century workforce.

Ensure Student Access and Success

We will provide access to educational excellence and opportunities that arise from it. We will offer all of Colorado’s students access to a high-quality university education, regardless of their financial situation, and provide all learners with the tools to thrive in the 21st-century workforce.

Critical Thinking for Life

We will prepare future generations of leaders, change makers and global citizens through a rigorous and distinctive program of general education that fosters self-knowledge and innovation across all programs of study.

Everyone Belongs

We will cultivate an inclusive climate conducive to the recruitment, retention and success of our students and employees.

— Courageous Strategic Transformation
The Colorado State University 2022-2026 Strategic Plan

Current Cycle Documents

4 reaccreditation, they will be added here (e.g., Quality Initiative Report, Reaccreditation Assurance Argument).

Prior Cycle Documents

Years 5-7 (Quality Initiative Proposal)

Quality Initiative Proposal (2020)

Year 4 (Assurance Review)

Year Four HLC Notification Letter (2018)

Year Four Assurance Review HLC Final Report (2018)

Year Four Assurance Review Self-Report (2018)

Years 1-3 (Prepare Assurance Filing)

Comprehensive Evaluation HLC Report (2014)

Comprehensive Evaluation Self-Study (2014)

How to Participate

As opportunities for community participation arise, they will be posted here. 

Please submit the form below with any feedback, questions, etc. 

Accreditation Planning Team & Steering Committee


Rick Miranda smiles for a photo.

Interim President

Jan Nerger smiles for a photo.

Interim Provost

Planning Team

Mary Pedersen smiles for a photo.

Special Advisor to the Provost

Chair, Accreditation Planning Team;
Vice Provost for Planning and Effectiveness

Susan Matthews smiles for a photo.
Susan Matthews

Presidential Fellow for Accreditation, CSU Institutional Research, Planning and Effectiveness;
Deputy State Forester, Colorado State Forest Service

Steering Committee

Vice President for Strategy

Vice President for Information Technology

Vice President for Marketing & Communications

Vice President for Inclusive Excellence

Dean, College of Agricultural Sciences;
Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station

Vice President for Human Resources

Vice President for Student Affairs

Interim Vice President for Engagement & Extension

Dean, College of Business

Director of Athletics

Vice President for Research

Work Groups

Inclusive Excellence

Kauline Cipriani, Lead

Student Success

Ryan Barone, Lead

Research and Creative Artistry

Christa Johnson, Lead

Teaching and Curriculum

Allison Penfield & Katy Little, Co-Leads

Assessment of Student Learning

Stephanie Foster, Lead

Operations and Planning

Scott Shrake, Lead