Shared practices among colleges and universities that have developed out of shared experience are basic to higher education in the United States and have been tested over time. Institutional accreditation evolved within these shared practices and relies upon the assumption that institutions follow them.

These assumed practices are foundational to the Higher Learning Commission’s Criteria for Accreditation. Unlike the criteria and core components, they are generally matters to be determined as facts, rather than matters requiring professional judgment, and they are unlikely to vary by institutional mission or context. 

Because accredited institutions engage in these assumed practices as a matter of course, the commission does not ask that an accredited institution explicitly address them in an evaluation process except where specifically required to do so to ensure continuing conformity.

The assumed practices correspond to four of the five accreditation criteria: