Accreditation Process Overview

Accreditation in Higher Education

Accreditation has evolved into a valuable attribute of institutions in higher education during the last century. Accreditation is a voluntary process in which the primary purposes are quality assurance and institutional and program improvement. The accreditation of an institution assures the public that its formal educational activities, governance and administration, financial stability, admissions and student personnel services, resources, student academic achievement, organizational effectiveness and relationships with outside constituencies have been assessed and evaluated by an external entity. UIS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

HLC Open Pathway Reaffirmation of Accreditation

The HLC offers three paths for maintaining their accreditation. The University of Illinois Springfield participates in the HLC Open Pathway. It follows a 10-year cycle, focused on quality assurance and institutional improvement. The Open Pathway is unique in that its improvement component, the Quality Initiative, affords institutions the opportunity to pursue improvement projects that meet their current needs and aspirations. The Open Pathway process seeks to achieve the following goals:

  • To enhance institutional value by opening the improvement aspect of accreditation so that institutions may choose Quality Initiatives to suit their current circumstances
  • To reduce the reporting burden on institutions by utilizing as much information and data as possible from existing institutional processes and collecting them in electronic form as they naturally occur over time
  • To enhance rigor by checking institutional data annually (Institutional Update) and conducting Assurance Reviews twice in the ten-year cycle
  • To integrate as much as possible all HLC processes and HLC requests for data into the reaffirmation of accreditation cycle

More Information

Departmental/Program Accreditation

Department or Specialized accreditation is focused on schools academic program or a school dedicated to a specific educational area of focus. See Departmental/Program Accreditation for details on the UIS programs that have achieved this designation.

Assurance Argument

Two Assurance Reviews take place in the ten-year Open Pathway accreditation cycle: one in Year 4 and one in Year 10. The Year 4 review occurs asynchronously via the Commission’s online Assurance System and without a visit. The Year 10 review is also conducted with the Assurance System but includes a visit to the campus.

Next Steps


If you have any questions or comments regarding the University of Illinois Springfield’s accreditation process, please call us at 217-206-7413 and a member of the UIS Accreditation Team will get back to you as soon as possible.

The Higher Learning Commission can be reached at:

230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
Chicago IL 60604
(800) 621-7440