East Central College is regionally accredited through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The Commission is an independent organization responsible for accrediting degree-granting and post-secondary educational institutions. Accreditation by a regional accreditor is required to offer federal financial aid to students, to receive federal grants, and to provide students the ability to transfer credit between accredited institutions.
East Central College’s history of accreditation began with initial accreditation granted in 1976. Since initial accreditation, ECC has successfully undergone comprehensive visits as scheduled including approval to offer full distance education as an option in 2014.
The Higher Learning Commission identifies three “pathway” model options. Higher education institutions are required to select one for maintaining accreditation. ECC is on the Standard Pathway Model. The pathway includes a 10-year accreditation cycle that includes ongoing monitoring, planning, and improvement. ECC is in the process of conducting a self-study in preparation for a comprehensive review scheduled for April 11-12, 2022 (Year 4). To achieve a successful comprehensive visit, ECC must meet all five of the HLC Criteria for Accreditation. The pathway requires:
Years 1-3: Prepare Assurance Filing – contribute documents to Evidence File and begin writing the Assurance Argument for Year 4 Comprehensive Evaluation.
Year 4: A Comprehensive Evaluation – Review of Assurance Argument and Peer Review during a comprehensive site visit. HLC will take action on the comprehensive evaluation.
Years 5-9: Prepare Assurance Filing – contribute documents to Evidence File and begin writing the Assurance Argument for Year 10 Comprehensive Evaluation.
Year 10: A Comprehensive Evaluation – Review of Assurance Argument and Peer Review during a comprehensive site visit. HLC will take action on the comprehensive evaluation and Reaffirmation of Accreditation.
Both the Assurance Review (Year 4 and 10) and Comprehensive Evaluation (Year 4 and 10) require the institution create an Assurance Argument, demonstrating the institution meets HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation. The argument must include specific evidence indicating ECC meets the five criteria listed on the HLC website.
Source: Higher Learning Commission. (2014, June). Policy Title: Criteria for Accreditation. Number: CRRT.B.10.010. Retrieved from Higher Learning Commission: HLC Policy: https://www.hlcommission.org/Policies/criteria-and-core-components.html.