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HLC Accreditation and Criteria for Accreditation

Grace College and Seminary was accredited in 1994 by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a regional institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. (Grace College was accredited in 1976 and Grace Seminary was accredited in 1982). Grace hosted its last HLC comprehensive evaluation in 2019 and received accreditation until 2028-2029.

More information on HLC can be found here.

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) expects Grace College and Seminary to meet the Criteria for Accreditation, which are the standards of quality by which HLC determines whether an institution merits accreditation or reaffirmation of accreditation. To be fully accredited, Grace must provide the evidence for each of the following HLC criteria and criteria subcomponent.


Criterion 1. Mission

The institution’s mission is clear and articulated publicly; it guides the institution’s operations.

1.A. The institution’s mission is articulated publicly and operationalized throughout the institution.

1.B. The institution’s mission demonstrates commitment to the public good.

1.C. The institution provides opportunities for civic engagement in a diverse, multicultural society and globally connected world, as appropriate within its mission and for the constituencies it serves.


Criterion 2. Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct

The institution acts with integrity; its conduct is ethical and responsible.

2.A. The institution establishes and follows policies and processes to ensure fair and ethical behavior on the part of its governing board, administration, faculty and staff.

2.B. The institution presents itself clearly and completely to its students and to the public.

2.C. The governing board of the institution is autonomous to make decisions in the best interest of the institution in compliance with board policies and to ensure the institution’s integrity.

2.D. The institution is committed to academic freedom and freedom of expression in the pursuit of truth in teaching and learning.

2.E. The institution’s policies and procedures call for responsible acquisition, discovery and application of knowledge by its faculty, staff and students.


Criterion 3. Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support

The institution provides quality education, wherever and however its offerings are delivered.

3.A. The rigor of the institution’s academic offerings is appropriate to higher education.

3.B. The institution offers programs that engage students in collecting, analyzing and communicating information; in mastering modes of intellectual inquiry or creative work; and in developing skills adaptable to changing environments.

3.C. The institution has the faculty and staff needed for effective, high-quality programs and student services.

3.D. The institution provides support for student learning and resources for effective teaching.


Criterion 4. Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement

The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs, learning environments, and support services, and it evaluates their effectiveness for student learning through processes designed to promote continuous improvement.

4.A. The institution ensures the quality of its educational offerings.

4.B. The institution engages in ongoing assessment of student learning as part of its commitment to the educational outcomes of its students.

4.C. The institution pursues educational improvement through goals and strategies that improve retention, persistence and completion rates in its degree and certificate programs.


Criterion 5. Institutional Effectiveness, Resources and Planning

The institution’s resources, structures, and processes are sufficient to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its educational offerings, and respond to future challenges and opportunities.

5.A. Through its administrative structures and collaborative processes, the institution’s leadership demonstrates that it is effective and enables the institution to fulfill its mission.

5.B. The institution’s resource base supports its educational offerings and its plans for maintaining and strengthening their quality in the future.

5.C. The institution engages in systematic and integrated planning and improvement.


More information on HLC Criteria for Accreditation can be found here.