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Higher Learning Commission

Since 1916, the University of Northern Colorado has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), an institutional accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. UNC’s next reaffirmation of accreditation will occur in 2024-2025, when an HLC peer review team will visit campus on October 21-23, 2024.  UNC is currently accredited through HLC’s Open Pathway.

Current HLC Initiatives

HLC Accreditation Cycle

HLC-accredited institutions participate in comprehensive reviews for reaffirmation of accreditation every ten years.  Within each 10-year cycle, accredited institutions must meet ongoing obligations of accreditation between comprehensive reviews.  Major activities occurring throughout the accreditation cycle include the following:

    • Assurance Filing (mid-cycle year 4 report verifying UNC continues to meet accreditation requirements)
    • Multi-Location Review and Site Visit (occurs every five years to ensure ongoing quality of UNC’s off-campus locations)
    • Quality Improvement Initiative (occurs years 5-9 of the accreditation cycle, with HLC-approved institutional improvement project)
    • Annual Institutional Update (data report submitted each year for ongoing financial and student success monitoring)
    • Substantive Change Notification and Approval (ongoing interaction regarding significant changes to academic programs, contractual arrangements, and additional locations, among others)

2015 HLC Self-Study and Reaffirmation of Accreditation

HLC Substantive Change Requirements

In order to meet UNC’s continuing obligations for accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), UNC adheres to all substantive change standards, requirements, policies, and procedures maintained by the HLC.  The federal government requires the HLC to monitor its member institutions’ substantive change activity, and the HLC has established policies and procedures for institutional compliance.  Failure to maintain such compliance can result in significant negative impact from the HLC and the US Department of Education, including loss of eligibility for Title IV funding, federal grants and contracts, or fines imposed by the federal government.  

UNC HLC Substantive Change Guidelines
UNC HLC Additional Locations Procedures
UNC HLC Contractual Arrangement Procedure