The HLC is a commission of NCA, which, in turn, is a regional accrediting agency authorized by the US Department of Education. While select SVSU programs in areas like engineering, nursing, and music have program-specific accreditations, HLC/NCA (like other regional accrediting agencies) focuses on overall institutional quality and integrity.
It means that SVSU meets or exceeds a set of criteria established by HLC that evaluate how effectively our programs, processes, and resources fulfill our institutional mission. It signals that we are working to continuously assess and improve the institution.
This is really the question we should all care about—as students, staff or faculty, or as a regional business or organizational partner who hires an SVSU graduate:
• Transferability of Credits: With HLC accreditation, credit hours can transfer to, and from, SVSU and other accredited institutions.
• Financial Aid: Accredited schools are able to award federally-backed financial aid. With more than 80 percent of our students receiving financial aid, it is hard to imagine that this institution would exist without accreditation.
• Transparency: Accreditation is an external affirmation of institutional accountability, improvement, program quality, integrity, performance and responsibility. It’s a review—in a very public way—of our doing everything we say we are doing.
We have worked hard to ensure that there is every likelihood we will be reaccredited. We created a strict and detailed timeline to develop the self-study leading up to the on-site review. A steering committee started the process in summer 2011. Criterion committees were formed and first met in summer 2012. More than 60 people have been involved in the self-study process. In fall 2012 (18 months prior to the site visit), two senior HLC staff members visited campus and noted publicly that SVSU’s planning was ahead of many other colleges and universities undergoing a similar reaccreditation process.