Accreditation is the process by which the quality of a college or university is publicly affirmed and continuously improved. St. Olaf College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), one of six regional accrediting organizations recognized by the US Department of Education. The Higher Learning Commission may be contacted at 230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604 (800.621.7440).
To become and remain accredited, an institution must undergo regular evaluation by a federally-approved accrediting organization, using a combination of evidence-based self-study and external peer review by other higher education professionals. The accreditation process also includes a peer-reviewed institutional improvement project.
Accreditation by a federally-recognized accreditor is vital to institutional well-being. It is a prerequisite for an institution’s students to be eligible for federal student aid, and for institutional access to other forms of federal and state financial support, which together amount to millions of dollars in student and institutional resources. It assures prospective students, their families, their future employers, and the public that an institution has been independently certified as meeting core standards for academic quality, institutional effectiveness, and fiscal stability. It also signals an institution’s active commitment to maintaining and improving its quality.
Use the navigation links to the left to learn more about the criteria for accreditation, the components of the accreditation review process, the ten-year accreditation review schedule for St. Olaf, findings from our most recent review, and preparations for our next review.