The Importance of Accreditation
Colorado State University has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) (and the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools) since 1925.
Institutional accreditation by the HLC, also known as regional accreditation, provides assurance to prospective students and other constituents that course credits and degrees earned from the institution meet quality standards of higher education. Accreditation is a requirement for federal financial aid and may be a requirement for some employment opportunities, professional licensure, and graduate education.
HLC recognizes that change at institutions of higher learning is constant, and it supports institutional efforts to improve educational quality. Depending on the type of change an institution plans to make—expanding its academic offerings, opening a new location, changing its mission, etc.—it may be required to apply for prior HLC approval or notify HLC of the change.
New locations for institutions are established through HLC’s Substantive Change Process. Once approved and established, these locations are monitored through peer review visits and are subject to a decision-making process depending on the location type. CSU is a member of the notification program for additional site locations.
As a federally recognized accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is required to assure that all its member institutions are meeting their Title IV program responsibilities as well as complying with the expectations of specific regulations accreditors must enforce as a part of their recognition by the U.S. Department of Education. Compliance with these requirements by both institutions and HLC is necessary to ensure that institutions accredited by the HLC are eligible for federal financial aid.
HLC requires each member and candidate institution to provide an update on organizational health through the Institutional Update.
Information provided to HLC in the Institutional Update serves multiple purposes.
- Some information is used to update the Statement of Accreditation Status that is posted in HLC’s Directory of Institutions.
- Certain financial and non-financial indicators of organizational health are reviewed to determine whether there are any trends that suggest HLC follow-up.
- Some changes may require review through HLC’s policies and procedures on institutional change.
- Some information is collected and monitored in compliance with federal requirements.
- Student enrollment data are used to calculate HLC membership dues.
CSU has selected to participate 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 4, completion of a quality initiative in years 5-9 and a comprehensive evaluation in year 10.
Comprehensive Evaluation Self-Study (2014)
Comprehensive Evaluation HLC Report (2014)
Year-4 Assurance Review Self-Report (2018)
Year-4 Assurance Review HLC Final Report (2018)
Year-4 HLC Notification Letter (2018)
Quality Initiative (still to be proposed)
All academic and professional degrees and all course credits earned at CSU are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission through regional institutional accreditation. In addition, many of CSU’s academic programs are accredited through professional organizations in their disciplines.
CSU seeks accreditation / certification of several non-degree programs and operational units to ensure that these operations comply with best practices.
Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) – Animal Care Program
Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care – CSU Health Network
Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police – CSU Police Department
Academy for Early Children Center Accreditation (NAEYC) – Early Childhood Center
Commission on English Language Program Accreditation – Intensive English Program
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) – Itercollegiate Athletics
American Psychological Association – Internship Program in Counseling Services
American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) – Residency Program: Large and Small Animal Surgery, Medicine, Oncology, Neurology, Ophthalmology, Critical Care and Emergency Medicine
The American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD) – Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories (Fort Collins, Rocky Ford, Western Slope branches)