Higher education institutions that seek or maintain affiliation with the Higher Learning Commission agree to support the commission’s mission, “Serving the common good by assuring and advancing the quality of higher learning.” They commit to the betterment of higher education by the application of a common set of criteria, processes that assure quality and encourage improvement, the concept of self-regulation, and acceptance of the judgment of peers.

  1. The institution meets obligations set forth by the commission, including periodic evaluation through the structures and mechanisms set forth in commission policies, submission of reports as requested by the commission, filing of the Annual Institutional Data Update, and any other requirements set forth in its policies.
  2. The institution is candid, transparent, and forthcoming in its dealings with the commission, including in its responses to any special inquiries or requests for information from the commission. The institution agrees not to enter into any agreement that limits the nature or scope of its communications with the commission or requires that a third party review and approve those communications prior to their transmission to the commission.
  3. The institution notifies the commission of any condition or situation that has the potential to affect the institution’s status with the commission, such as a significant unanticipated reduction in program offerings or serious legal investigation. (A fuller list of such conditions or situations is included in the commission’s policy on special monitoring.)
  4. The institution informs the commission of its relationship with any related entity wherein institutional decision making is controlled by that entity and of any changes in that relationship that may affect the institution’s compliance with commission accreditation requirements. (Definitions and process requirements are contained in the commission’s policy on institutions with related entities.)
  5. The institution describes itself in identical terms to the commission and to any other institutional accrediting body with which it holds or seeks affiliation and notifies the commission when it receives an adverse action from or has been placed on sanction by any other accrediting agency.
  6. The institution assures its employees and students that it will consider fairly all complaints and third-party comments and not engage in retaliatory action against any who have submitted such information.
  7. The institution accepts that the commission will publish outcomes from its accreditation process.
  8. The institution portrays its accreditation status with the commission clearly to the public, including the status of its branch campuses and related entities. The institution posts the electronic version of the commission’s Mark of Affiliation on at least one place on its website, linking users directly to the institution’s status on the commission’s website.
  9. The institution communicates to its constituencies and applicants any Public Disclosure Notice it receives from the Higher Learning Commission.
  10. The institution maintains prominently on its website a telephone number that includes an option for both current students and the public to speak with a representative of the institution.
  11. The institution submits timely payment of dues and fees and accepts the fact of surcharges for late payment.
  12. The institution agrees to accept binding arbitration in the event of an action by the commission’s board of trustees that the institution disputes and is not able to resolve through the commission’s processes. This agreement follows procedures developed and published by the commission.