Institutional Accreditation Overview

What is Institutional Accreditation?

Institutional accreditation is a rigorous self-evaluation and review by independent, objective peer reviewers for quality and compliance of the institution.

Why Accreditation is Important

  • It validates our academic programs. This is important for transferring credit to other institutions.
  • It signals to employers our programs adhere to acceptable standards.
  • It is required for offering Title IV federal financial aid funds.

The District’s Accreditation History
Illinois Eastern Community Colleges' accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission (formerly the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools) dates back to the early 1970s when the colleges pursued accreditation individually. All colleges were accredited separately until August 18, 1984 when HLC accredited IECC as a single entity.

The Higher Learning Commission
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), an independent corporation founded in1895, is an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. HLC accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the United States.

Criteria for Accreditation
Institutions accredited by the Higher Learning Commission must meet the five criteria for accreditation. These criteria emphasize continuous improvement and assessment of student learning.   

The Open Pathway Process
IECC has participated in the HLC Open Pathway Process since its inception in April 2009. Focused on quality assurance and institutional improvement, the Open Pathway is one of two methods institutions have for maintaining their accreditation with HLC. 

The Open Pathway Process follows a 10-year cycle, meaning a comprehensive evaluation occurs every 10 years with reaffirmation as the goal. IECC’s most recent reaffirmation was June 15, 2015. IECC's next comprehensive visit will be December 2-3, 2024. Additional institutional reviews in this 10-year cycle include:

Annually - Regular Monitoring via the Institutional Update process.

Year 4 – Assurance Review via the submission of documentation demonstrating how schools fulfill each Criterion and Core Component.     

Years 5 thru 9 – Quality Initiative project is undertaken.

IECC’s Statement of Accreditation Status