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About HLC


Higher Learning Commission Mark of Affiliation 

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and North Central Association (NCA)?

The Higher Learning Commission is part of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The Association was founded in 1895 as a membership organization for educational institutions. It is committed to developing and maintaining high standards of excellence.


The Association is one of six regional institutional accrediting associations in the United States. Through its commissions it accredits, and thereby grants membership to educational institutions in the nineteen-state North Central region: Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming.


The Higher Learning Commission is recognized by the US Department of Education and Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

What is accreditation?

Accreditation is a voluntary process of self-evaluation and peer review through which an institution is able to measure the quality of its programs. The results of which are summarized in a self-study report and reviewed by an evaluation team visit made by expert and trained peers. The process provides ICC with an opportunity for critical self-analysis leading to improvement in quality and performance.

Why is accreditation important?

Accreditation ensures the quality and integrity of ICC's programs and services; it allows students to transfer credits to other accredited institutions; it enables students to obtain financial aid and veteran's services; it allows ICC to participate in federally-funded projects and grants; and it guarantees ICC's ability to recruit and retain quality faculty and staff.


Does Accreditation guarantee that credits and degrees can be transferred to another college or university?


No. The college or university to which the student has applied determines transferability of credits and degrees. Transferability depends on the college or university at which credits or degrees were earned, how well the credits mesh with the curriculum offered by the school to which the students wishes to transfer, and how well the student did in the courses. Many organizations choose to consider the accredited status of the college at which the credit or degree was earned as one factor in the transfer decision. Some have specific agreements with other colleges or universities guaranteeing transfer of credits. Organizations should be prepared to explain their institutional policies on transfer and factors in an individual transfer decision.