The initial step in applying for accreditation with the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities is to seek recognition as a Candidate for Accreditation. Only accredited institutions are members of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Candidate for Accreditation is a pre-accredited affiliate status with the Commission. It is a status of recognition by the Commission that the institution meets the eligibility requirements and is progressing toward accreditation. It does not, however, imply or ensure eventual accreditation by the Commission.

At such time as the institution’s chief executive officer and governing board determine that the Eligibility Requirements are met, the chief executive officer may submit an Application for Consideration to the President of the Commission. The Application for Consideration consists of a letter of application signed by the chief executive officer, along with one electronic copy of the documents listed below. The application must include the application fee of $7,500. The process of review will include a site visit by the NWCCU Liaison, for which the institution will be invoiced for the actual cost of travel.

  1. Thorough written response to each Eligibility Requirement;
  2. Plans for institutional development;
  3. Current Catalog;
  4. Current budget and audited financial statement; and
  5. Articles of incorporation and bylaws, or charter if the institution is independent, and when appropriate, proof of state authority to operate within the state and grant degrees.
  6. A copy of the National Center on Educational Statistics IPEDS Institution Profile and most recent IPEDS Data Feedback Report (located at detailing the institution’s capacity, programs, enrollments, and other information required by the US Department of Education.

The Commission uses the following procedure in reviewing an Application for Consideration:

  1. The institution submits its Application for Consideration not later than sixty (60) days prior to a regularly scheduled Commission meeting.
  2. Commission staff review and prepare an analysis of the Application.
  3. The Application is placed on the agenda for the next regularly scheduled Commission meeting.
  4. The institution is invited to send a representative(s) to appear before the Commission when the Application is considered.
  5. Following the meeting, the institution is notified in writing of the Commission’s action.

If the Commission judges that the institution meets the conditions of eligibility, the institution’s chief executive officer is advised to proceed with an analytic self-study for Candidacy, and tentative dates for an evaluation committee onsite visit are set. The self-study report and evaluation for Candidacy are to be completed no earlier than one year and no later than three years following acceptance of the Application for Consideration. If the self-study is not completed within three years of the date of acceptance of the Application for Consideration, approval of the institution’s Application for Consideration will be withdrawn.