Lower Columbia College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
Accreditation of an institution of higher education by the NWCCU indicates that it meets or exceeds criteria for the assessment of institutional quality evaluated through a peer review process. An accredited college or university is one which has available the necessary resources to achieve its stated purposes through appropriate educational programs, is substantially doing so, and gives reasonable evidence that it will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Institutional integrity is also addressed through accreditation.
Accreditation by the NWCCU is not partial but applies to the institution as a whole. As such, it is not a guarantee of every course or program offered, or the competence of individual graduates. Rather, it provides reasonable assurance about the quality of opportunities available to students who attend the institution.
Inquiries regarding an institution's accredited status by the NWCCU should be directed to the administrative staff of the institution. Individuals may also contact:
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.
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 will take effect on January 1, 2020. In addition to annual reports that are due on August 15 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 regional accreditor enables colleges to qualify for federal Title IV funds (e.g. financial aid for students) and other federal grants and contracts.
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).