Institutional Accreditation

Universities and colleges in the United States obtain accreditation from non-governmental bodies that are recognized by the U. S. Secretary of Education as being reliable authorities to evaluate the quality of higher education. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is one of six regional associations recognized by the Department of Education that accredit institutions of higher education. The Higher Learning Commission accredits Northern Arizona University. Northern Arizona University’s accreditation is extended through 2017-2018. 

Currently, the Commission offers two programs for maintaining accreditation: the Program to Evaluate and Advance Quality (PEAQ) and the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP). In September 2012, the Commission began a three-year transition during which PEAQ will be replaced by two new Pathways: The Standard Pathway and The Open Pathway. NAU is preparing to participate in the Open Pathway that offers greater value to institutions and higher credibility to the public in its quality assurance. 

Central to the accreditation process is the new Criteria for Accreditation, Assumed Practices and Obligation ofAffiliation. Institutions are expected to provide evidence that support the five criteria and offer an Assurance Argument organized by the criteria and their core components.

In addition to providing evidence that support the criteria and the Assurance Argument, institutions who participate in the Open Pathways model are required to conduct a major Quality Initiative designed to address present challenges or aspirations. The Quality Initiative can be a project the institution has in progress or a new milestone they wish to achieve.  

View the transition map for NAU’s reaccreditation timeline.

View the Academic Accreditations in the Academic Catalog.