Lower Columbia College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
NWCCU is one of seven institutional accrediting agencies that operate within a scope
of authority approved by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE). Institutional accreditors
have traditionally had oversight over higher educational institutions within a selected
subset of the 50 states and U.S. territories, along with institutions outside of the
U.S., which have voluntarily sought membership for accreditation. However, under the
new 2020 USDE regulations, the former regional accreditors are now allowed to operate
nationally. Institutional accreditation serves to assure the educational community,
parents, students, employers, policymakers, and the public that an accredited institution
has met high standards of quality and effectiveness.
For the purposes of determining eligibility for United States government assistance
under certain legislation, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education recognizes
institutional accrediting agencies as reliable authorities on the quality of education
offered by educational institutions.
Institutional accreditation applies to an institution as a whole, not individual programs
or units within the institution. Institutional accreditation agencies perform important
functions, including fostering quality education and continuous improvement, and encouraging
institutional efforts toward maximum educational effectiveness. The accrediting process
requires institutions to examine their own missions, operations, and achievements.
It then provides expert analysis by peer evaluators, which may include commendations
for accomplishments as well as recommendations for improvement.
Inquiries regarding an institution's accreditation status by the NWCCU should be directed
to the administrative staff of the institution. Individuals may also contact:
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities8060 165th Avenue N.E., Suite 100Redmond, WA 98052(425) 558-4224www.nwccu.org
Accreditation by the NWCCU refers to the institution as a whole. Therefore, statements
like "fully accredited" or "the program is accredited by the Northwest Commission
on Colleges and Universities" or "this degree is accredited by the Northwest Commission
on Colleges and Universities" are incorrect and should not be used.
The NWCCU’s most recent action on the institution’s accreditation status on January
22, 2019 was to reaffirm accreditation.
NWCCU is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education
and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
Accreditation is a process used to determine whether an organization is meeting externally
defined standards. The NWCCU adopted new Accreditation Standards in August 2019 that took effect on January 1, 2020. In addition to annual reports
that are due on August 1 each year, the new cycle involves a Mid-Cycle Evaluation
in Year Three, a Policies, Regulations, and Financial Review in Year Six, and an Evaluation
of Institutional Effectiveness in Year Seven.
Accreditation from a recognized institutional (formerly regional) accreditor enables
colleges to qualify for federal Title IV funds (e.g. financial aid for students) and
other federal grants and contracts. Transfer-eligible accredited institutions include:
Demonstrating our effectiveness as an institution is a big part of the accreditation
process. LCC does this in three primary ways:
The NWCCU's Substantive Change Policy requires colleges to submit proposed program changes apart from the institutional
accreditation reporting and visitation process. The policy states:
"If an institution implements a change without prior written notice or if it proceeds
to implement a substantive change denied by the Executive Committee or Commission,
the Commission may issue an order for the institution to show cause as to why its
accreditation or candidate status should not be terminated."
For assistance with program change requests, please refer to the resources below and
contact the ALO with questions (ALO contact information listed below page content).
(360) 442-2491 Fax: (360) 442-2659 firstname.lastname@example.org
Mon-Fri: 8 am - 5 pm