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V3I4: NWCCU Updates


Currently, NWCCU operates under the US Department of Education’s (USDE) revised 2020 regulations and 34 CFR § 602.

USDE gave accreditors until July 1, 2021 to be fully compliant with the new regulations, which required us to update and align, with the approval of the NWCCU Board of Commissioners, all of our policies, Standards, Eligibility Requirements, and accreditation procedures.

Earlier this year, NWCCU was informed that our petition for renewal as a nationally recognized accrediting agency is will be reviewed at the Summer 2023 meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI). As an FYI, just like our member institutions are subjected to periodic review and renewal of their accreditation status, NWCCU and other accreditors are subjected to a review and renewal of their status as accreditors; NWCCU’s renewal of recognition was last approved in 2018. As part of this review, we are required to submit our petition for recognition no later than July 31, 2021. Then, during the ensuing almost 24 months, NWCCU will be subjected to an intense review by USDE, during which we will need to address any issues or concerns USDE’s staff may have and become ready to appear before NACIQI in July 2023.

Under the able stewardship of Amy Luke, NWCCU’s Chief of Staff and Director of External Relations, we are making excellent progress on the petition for renewal of recognition, which will be completed and submitted no later than July 31, 2021.

Effective July 1, 2020, USDE eliminated the geographical limitations for regional accreditors, such as NWCCU and other Council on Regional Accrediting Commissions (C-RAC) members, allowing us all to, essentially, have a national scope.

Per the revised regulations on Geographic area of accrediting activities and NWCCU’s revised bylaws, the new scope of recognition on USDE’s website for NWCCU will read as follows:

Scope of recognition: the accreditation and pre-accreditation (“Candidacy status”) of institutions of higher education in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and other geographic areas within the United States, including the accreditation of programs offered via distance education within these institutions.

Note that NWCCU also accredits institutions in British Columbia, Canada.

In light of the change of geographic scope, we, i.e., C-RAC members, refer to ourselves as “institutional accreditors,” rather than as “regional accreditors.”


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