Middle States Accreditation

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The University of Scranton is accredited by The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE),3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, 1-267-284-5000 MSCHE is one of seven regional accreditors within the United States. Click here to view the University's current Statement of Accreditation Status (SAS).

The University's Middle States accreditation activities are led by Kathryn Yerkes, Assistant Vice Provost for Planning & Institutional Effectiveness, who serves as the University's Middle States Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO).

Middle States is one of seven regional accreditors within the United States. Although a voluntary practice, holding regional accreditation is a requirement for higher education institutions seeking to access federal student financial aid and other funding. Membership to the Middle States association is incumbent upon an institution's compliance with the Commission's Standards for Accreditation and Requirements for Affiliation, and with other topical Commission policies. Visit www.msche.org to view these policies, information about the accreditation process and MSCHE expectations, or to file a complaint.

Part of the accreditation process serves to verify an institution's compliance with federal legislation, in particular, the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), which defines the process by which higher education institutions can access federal financial aid funding. Click here to view current guidelines for the verification process.

Middle States Accreditation FAQs


 

Accreditation Cycle

Within the Middle States region, the accreditation cycle is comprised of the following primary components: 

Self-Study, an in-depth institutional analysis that takes place every eight years.  The self-study requires the institution to review its programs, services, and operations with respect to Middle States standards and its own mission, and results in report documenting the institution's strengths and recommendations for self-improvement. This report is reviewed by a team of peer reviewers who may make recommendations of their own to the institution, and by the Commission. The University completed its most recent self-study in spring 2019.

Mid-Point Peer Review, which takes place at the midpoint of the self-study cycle, is a process where institutional data and other information, including requests for additional evidence or materials from MSCHE submitted as part of the Annual Institutional Update (see below), are reviewed. This mid-point review replaces the prior Periodic Review Report, or PRR.

Annual Institutional Update, an annual submission of a series of data and information about the institution, its students, and its programs, along with updates to MSCHE from prior self-study or mid-point reporting. The University ALO submits this information to MSCHE each spring.

Within the accreditation cycle, institutions are required to document compliance with a several accreditation-related aspects of federal legislation, including specific elements of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA). The Office of Planning & Institutional Effectiveness partners with the Office of Institutional Reporting and Data Analytics and other units across campus through the University's HEOA Working Group to monitor and document these and other HEOA compliance initiatives on a regular basis. 


Substantive Change

There are a number of other policies that are part of MSCHE Requirements for Affiliation. One of these policies requires that institutions, under certain circumstances, submit a proposal for substantive change when seeking to offer, for example, a new program delivery location, or degree level. These types of changes must be approved in order to fall under the scope of the institution's accreditation. Academic departments planning the development of a new program, delivery location, or degree level should contact Kathryn Yerkes to determine if the nature of this proposed new offering or activity requires prior approval by Middle States.

Disciplinary Accreditations

In addition to institutional accreditation through Middle States, a number of academic programs at the University maintain disciplinary accreditation at the program level. These are important markers of program quality and rigor. Information about the disciplinary accreditations held by University programs is available in the University catalog, and on individual program web sites. For more information about these accreditations, their cycles, standards, and processes, contact the Dean's Office within each college.