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Statement of Accreditation Status

as of June 23, 2017

Fairmont State University

1201 Locust Ave.
Fairmont, WV 26554-2470
(304) 367-4000

*Previous names: Fairmont State Teachers College to Fairmont State College to Fairmont State University (2004)

The information on this page describes the accreditation relationship between this institution and the Higher Learning Commission. General information about the Commission and the accreditation process is provided at the end of this document. In addition, links to definitions are provided for many of the terms used.

Accreditation Information

Current status: Accredited

Accreditation date(s):01/01/1928 - 12/31/1933; 01/01/1947

Most recent reaffirmation of accreditation: 2012 - 2013

Next reaffirmation of accreditation: 2022 - 2023

Upcoming or In-Progress Reviews

12/15/2017:Interim ReportStrategic Planning
03/01/2018:Interim ReportOther
12/14/2018:Interim ReportOther
2022 - 2023:Comprehensive Evaluation 

Most Recent History with the Commission

01/24/2017:Comprehensive EvaluationInterim Report Requested - The concern is that the University has adopted three specific surveys designed to help with recruitment and retention efforts. The adoption of these instruments was in response to concerns about assessment raised during the previous HLC visit. The University collected data from two of the surveys, but there was no evidence that these data were used to inform improvement. Furthermore, the Team was not provided with evidence that the third instrument had been used, even though it was developed "sometime in 2015." The Team report concluded that "even though no hard data is available in this area, the site team feels the tools are in place to collect and evaluate the information needed to guide decision and possible changes. No monitoring report is being recommended for this area, but the next team visit should expect to see data, analysis, and evidence of any changes to policy and procedures in these areas." Additionally, the only other evidence cited in 5D regards two new Director positions and the assignment of aggressive goals for these positions. However, due to the timing of the visit there is no evidence that these goals were accomplished. There is concern with Multi-Campus (Gaston Caperton Center) conclusion, which suggests to IAC that heightened monitoring may be needed as there has been a significant decline in enrollment and there are financial concerns about the cost of operation. According to the report, no plans are in place for remediating the situation.
09/14/2015:Focused VisitAccepted with Additional Monitoring
05/21/2013:Reaffirmation of Accreditation  
02/26/2013:Financial Panel RecommendationsAffirmed that the institution continues to address its financial issues
09/10/2007:Focused Evaluations - Commission Mandated 
03/07/2007:Focused Evaluations - Institution's Request additional M's programs

General Institutional Information

This section provides brief, general information about the institution’s organization and scope. The information is self-reported by the institution through the annual Institutional Update to the Commission. Additional information can be found at nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/ or on the institution’s web site noted above.

Control: Public

Degree programs (number in each category): Associates (7), Bachelors (45), Masters (5)

Certificate programs (number offered): 0

Off-Campus Activities (This listing was last updated: 08/17/2013; the information may not be current.) The institution’s accreditation includes courses and programs at:

In-State:   Campuses:   Robert C. Byrd National Aerospace Education Center - Bridgeport, WV; Gaston Caperton Center - Clarksburg, WV;
    Additional Locations:   None.
Out-of-State:   Campuses:   None.
    Additional Locations:   None.
Out-of-U.S.:   Campuses:   None.
    Additional Locations:   None.

About HLC and Accreditation

Institutions of higher education in the United States seek accreditation through two types of accreditation agencies, institutional and specialized. Institutional accreditation agencies are classified as regional and national.

National accreditation associations focus on certain types of colleges such as trade and technical institutions, or religious colleges such as seminaries and bible colleges.

Regional accreditation agencies are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit degree granting colleges and universities. There are six regions of the U.S. in which regional agencies operate. The regional accreditation agencies have similar standards for accrediting colleges and universities.

Regional accreditation validates the quality of an institution as a whole and evaluates multiple aspects of an institution ranging from its academic offerings, governance and administration, mission, finances, and resources.

The Higher Learning Commission is a regional accreditation agency that accredits degree granting institutions of higher education that are based in the 19-state North Central region of the United States. Institutions that HLC accredits are evaluated against HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation, a set of standards that institutions must meet to receive and/or maintain accredited status.

HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation reflect a set of guiding values. The accreditation process is based on a system of peer review. Approximately 1,300 educators from institutions of higher education serve as peer reviewers conducting accreditation evaluations for other institutions. Peer reviewers also serve on committees that make up the decision-making bodies of the accreditation process.

Evaluation Process
HLC accreditation assures quality by verifying that an institution (1) meets standards and (2) is engaged in continuous improvement. In addition, all institution’s are required to complete an annual filing of the Institutional Update, undergo annual monitoring of financial and non-financial indicators, and adhere to HLC policies and practices on institutional change.

Peer reviewers trained in HLC’s standards evaluate institution’s demonstration of whether they meet the Criteria for Accreditation and make recommendations to HLC’s decision-making bodies.

Institutional Actions Council (Decision-Making Body)
The Board of Trustees appoints and authorizes members of the Institutional Actions Council (IAC) to conduct reviews and take actions on the majority of accreditation recommendations. IAC members consist of representatives of academic institutions accredited by HLC, as well as members of the public. Detailed information on IAC processes is found in HLC’s policies on decision-making.

Public Information
In the interest of being transparent, HLC is committed to providing information to the public regarding accreditation decisions made regarding individual institutions.

Actions that are taken by HLC regarding an institution’s accreditation status are disclosed to the public. Beginning July 2013, in all cases of issuing continued accreditation, placing an institution on or resolving a sanction, or withdrawing accreditation, the Action Letter issued to the institution is made available for viewing and the institution’s status in HLC’s online directory is updated. Public Disclosure Notices are also issued in cases of sanction to provide the public more detail of the issues leading to sanction.

Complaints Against HLC Accredited Institutions
Each year, HLC receives a number of complaints about institutions from faculty, students, and other parties. HLC has established a clear distinction between individual grievances and complaints that appear to involve broad institutional practices. Where a complaint does raise issues regarding the institution’s ongoing ability to meet the Criteria of Accreditation, HLC forwards the complaint to the institution and requests a formal response.

Complainants with specific claims related to the Americans with Disabilities Act or employment discrimination should seek prior review of such claims by the appropriate federal agencies. HLC may ask for the report or record of such review in determining whether it can proceed to consider the claim as a complaint related to compliance with the Criteria for Accreditation.