Purpose and Process

Purpose of Accreditation

The purposes of regional accreditation include encouraging institutions to improve academic quality, institutional effectiveness, and, ultimately, student success. The ACCJC focuses on community colleges, career and technical colleges, and junior colleges, through the creation and application of standards of accreditation and related policies, and through a process of review by higher education professionals and public members. ACCJC evaluation of institutions assures the educational community, the general public, and other organizations and agencies that an institution has clearly defined objectives appropriate to higher education; has established conditions under which their achievement can reasonably be expected; and appears in fact to be accomplishing them; is so organized, staffed, and supported that it can be expected to continue to do so.

Peer Review Process

Each institution affiliated with the ACCJC accepts the obligation to participate in a cycle of periodic evaluation through institutional self-evaluation and review by teams of peer evaluators. Teams conduct an evaluation review following completion of institutional self-evaluation in order to determine the extent to which an institution meets the Commission’s Standards. Team members, selected for their expertise, make recommendations to meet the Commission’s Standards, make recommendations for improvement, commend exemplary practices, and provide both the college and the Commission with a report of their findings.

Institution Types

The ACCJC accredits institutions in California, Hawaii, the Territories of Guam and American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, which have as a primary mission the granting of associate degrees, but which may also award certificates and other credentials, including bachelor’s degrees, where the provision of such credentials is within the institution’s mission and, if applicable, as authorized by their governmental authorities. The ACCJC may accredit non-domestic institutions in other geographic regions at its discretion.

Academic Quality and Student Achievement Information

The Commission requires each accredited institution to make public its Reports to the Commission, External Evaluation Team Reports, and Commission Action letters, by placing the documents on the institution’s website as well as other locations accessible to students and the public.

Information about student achievement at any California Public Community College can be found in the Student Success Scorecard located hereOpens in new window.

Student achievement data about programs at Hawaii Public Community Colleges is available hereOpens in new window.

Non-public member institutions provide gainful employment and other student success information on their websites. The U.S. Department of Education provides student retention and graduation information by college hereOpens in new window.