The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is an independent corporation that was founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. HLC accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the North Central region, which includes the following 19 states:
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Serving the common good by assuring and advancing the quality of higher learning.
Transition from North Central Association to Higher Learning Commission
Through an agreement between the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and CASI (the Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement), the North Central Association has been dissolved. The dissolution of the North Central Association and the liquidation of its assets, announced in July 2014, had no effect on the accreditation of any institution. There was no change in the standards or process for accreditation of institutions by HLC and there was no effect on HLC’s federal recognition as a Title IV gatekeeper.
After 2001, when HLC and CASI incorporated as separate and independent corporations that accredit educational institutions at all levels, the North Central Association had no role in the accreditation process and existed solely to hold the Association’s property, including its name, trademarks and records.
As of the fall of 2014, institutions should revise their descriptive information to delete information indicating that they are members of the North Central Association. Instead, institutions should continue to describe themselves as members of HLC. Any third-party references to accreditation of degree-granting institutions of higher education by the North Central Association should be construed as referring to accreditation of these institutions by HLC.
The Higher Learning Commission
230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, Illinois 60604-1413
The Commission is governed by a Board of Trustees elected by the membership and administered by a president selected by and accountable to that Board. The charge to the president is to ensure that through its structures and personnel, the Commission delivers useful and cost-effective services. The president is Dr. Barbara Gellman-Danley.
The Commission adheres to the following Bylaws, which were approved in 2010.
At the October 2014 Board Meeting, the Board of Trustees received and accepted the Fiscal Year 2014 independent auditors' report. To request a copy of the HLC's most recent IRS-990, contact Mike Seuring at 800.621.7440.
Actions on affiliated institutions are taken by decision-making bodies comprised of institutional representatives and public members. Unless otherwise specified, the decision-making bodies are broadly representative of the colleges and universities accredited by the Commission, with attention to institutional type, control, size, and geographical distribution. All decision-making bodies abide by the Commission’s conflict of interest policies. Visit the Calendar of Events to see a list of meetings of the Commission’s decision-making bodies.
The Commission relies on a cadre of carefully selected and trained professionals who serve the Commission in its accreditation processes. This group of more than a thousand individuals is called the Peer Review Corps. These volunteers share their knowledge of and direct experience with higher education, their dedication to educational excellence, and their commitment to the principles underlying voluntary accreditation.
Relationship with the Federal Government and Other Organizations
To serve the common good, the Commission must create and maintain relationships with the federal government and other organizations with broader communities dependent on the quality of higher learning received in accredited colleges and universities. In most states in the North Central region, state legislatures have established governing or coordinating bodies to implement state policies meant to ensure that the citizens of the state have access to quality higher education.
The federal government has a distinct interest in the role of accreditation in assuring quality in higher education for the students who benefit from federal financial aid programs. By being recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) as a gatekeeper agency, the Commission agrees to fulfill specific federally defined responsibilities within the accreditation processes.
“The Triad” is the term used to describe the close working relationships among the states, the federal government, and regional accreditation. The Commission values its role in the Triad and through its policies and practices seeks to maintain the vitality of this unique exercise in private–public collaboration.
Other accrediting agencies, institutional and specialized, are also external constituents. On behalf of its affiliated organizations, the Commission establishes and maintains relationships with governmental and higher education agencies.
The Higher Learning Commission has more than 50 staff members. For contact information, visit the staff directory.
The Higher Learning Commission is an equal opportunity employer. These employment opportunities are currently available at the Higher Learning Commission.