Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

The Higher Learning Commission is a non-profit organization charged with responsibility of regionally accrediting educational institutes in the United States

Updated by Shubharthi Dey on 14th February 2020

Higher Learning Commission provides accreditation for degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the North Central Region.

The Higher Learning Commission(HLC) is an independent, non-profit organization established in 1895. It is one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States.

Higher Learning Commission is assigned as Regional Accrediting Institution by The United States Department of Education and The Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Accreditation Meme                                                                                                                                                    Source: www.memegenerator.net

The HLC accredits online colleges and universities in areas such as Midwestern and South-central states, to name a few are tabulated below.

 Regions Of The Accreditated Colleges
Arizona Missouri
Arkansas Nebraska
Colorado New Mexico
Illinois North Dakota

What are the guiding values for HLC?

Higher Learning Commission’s criteria for accreditation reflect a set of guiding values

 Criteria For Accreditation
Focus on student learning Integrity, transparency, and ethical behavior or practice
Education as a public purpose Governance for the well-being of the institution
Education for a diverse, technological, globally connected world Planning and management of resources to ensure institutional sustainability
A culture of continuous improvement Mission-centered evaluation
Evidence-based institutional learning and self-presentation Accreditation through peer review 

What are the eligibility requirements?

An institution should essentially satisfy the below-mentioned eligibility requirements before it is approved a candidate status. During eligibility filing,  an institution must present evidence that it meets all the requirements before a site visit. The requirements are tabulated below.

Eligibility Requirements
Jurisdiction of the Commission Learning Resources
Legal Status Student Support Services
Governing Board Planning
Stability Policies and Procedures
Mission Statement Current Activity
Educational Programs The integrity of Business and Academic Operations
Information to the Public The consistency of Description Among Agencies
Financial Capacity Accreditation Record
Administration Good Faith and Planning to Achieve Accreditation

Higher Learning Commission Accredited Universities

Let's now look into some of the HLC accreditated universities.

Accredited Universities
Dickinson State University Indiana State University
East Central University Arizona State University
Doane University Colorado Technical University
Ferris State University Walden University
Fontbonne University University of Phoenix
Fort Hays State University National American University

HLC's decision making bodies

The HLC affiliated institution’s decisions or actions are engaged by institutional representatives and public members collectively termed as decision making bodies. All decision-making bodies stand by HLC’s conflict of interest procedures, few are listed below

  • Board of Trustees: Board of Trustees is made up of approximately 15-21 members termed as Governing Body of HLC. Trustees are elected by Member institution. One member out of seven represents public.

  • Institutional Actions Council: They represent HCL institution members and the public, approximately 90 members. IAC members are appointed and authorized by the Board of Trustees.

  • Appeals Body: They serve on Appeal panels and are elected by the Board of Trustees.

Strategies for student success 

  • HLC will team up with institution members to outline student success in a much authentic way which can be understood effortlessly, sensitive to institutional aim and observant to the explanations students pursue higher education.

  • HLC will analyze the Criteria for Accreditation and associated requirements to certify sensitivity to institutional works and student requirements, to verify if they concentrate on career training, pre-professional guidance, liberal education else a combination all these for individual and society befits.

  • HLC will advance the agenda on assessment of student learning.

  • Data related to student success is collected, organized and published by HLC for improved decision making by the institution. 

Training programs for students and scholars

HLC provides internship openings to visiting scholars and graduate disciples to ensure the listed goals:

  • To develop a research project by making use of data submitted to HLC by their institution members or peer reviewers.

  • To seek research by means of HLC’s information and alternate resources.

  • To produce resource constituents to assist institution associates or the higher education community.

  • To develop a research project acknowledged by a scholar or graduate student that enhances grant and support the community upright. 


The higher learning commission is a non-profit organization that accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the United States. It has played a phenomenal role in checking the quality of the colleges and has been a pivotal body in assuring that those colleges continue to provide quality education over the years.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1.Are an institution's online programs accreditated?  

    An institution’s accreditation will generally encompass all methods of delivery, though approval is sometimes needed before an institution can offer distance education.

  • 2.Will my credits or degree transfer from an HLC-accreditated institution?

    Each institution determines its own policies and procedures for accepting transfer credits. HLC expects institutions to have clear policies on transfer of credit. Questions about the transferability of credits should be directed to the institution that the student is interested in attending.

  • 3.What is the difference between regional accreditation and state licensure?    

    Many states require an educational institution to be licensed to legally operate. This legal requirement is not accreditation, which determines the educational quality provided by the institution.

  • 4.What is the difference between HLC and other agencies? 

    There are two types of educational accreditation: institutional and specialized. HLC provides institutional accreditation. Specialized accrediting bodies evaluate particular units, schools, or programs within an institution.

  • 5.What is the Mark Of Accreditation?

    The Mark of Affiliation is used on member institutions’ websites to indicate their affiliation status with HLC. It is a key component of HLC’s program to provide information to the public about the accreditation relationship between HLC and an institution.

  • 6.Why is attending an accredited college or university important?

    Quality education: accredited colleges and universities deliver high-quality educational programs Financial aid: accredited schools receive federal student financial aid dollars Transfer: most schools will only accept transfer credits from an accredited school Graduate school: most graduate programs will only accept students with degrees from accredited schools