The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has publicly reaffirmed accreditation of Western Carolina University for an additional 10 years, a successful outcome for an evaluation of the university’s academic and administrative programs that began three years ago. Announcement of the SACSCOC’s decision regarding reaffirmation of accreditation came Dec. 5 in Dallas, Texas, at the organization’s annual meeting.

WCU has been continuously accredited by SACSCOC, the university’s institutional accrediting body, since 1946 and last reaffirmed accreditation for a 10-year period in 2007. In addition to ensuring that WCU students are experiencing high-quality academic programs, successful reaffirmation of accreditation determines the university’s eligibility to receive federal and state funding, including student financial aid, and its ability to transfer academic credits with other institutions.

The commission has requested as a follow up that WCU continue to closely monitor its institutional effectiveness processes, with a monitoring report due in September 2018.  Also as part of the process, SACSCOC required the university to develop a Quality Enhancement Plan, or QEP, a comprehensive plan for institutional improvement. The accrediting agency determined earlier this year that WCU’s proposed QEP, titled DegreePlus, was in need of no additional modifications and could be implemented as presented.

Designed as a holistic approach involving not only faculty and students but all aspects of the campus community, DegreePlus is intended to enhance student success by complementing course-based learning with an improved framework to support student participation in extracurricular activities through experience in activities that enhance leadership, cultural responsiveness, teamwork and professionalism skills.

As the major accrediting body for public and private institutions of higher education in the 11 southernmost states, SACSCOC accredits more than 780 universities and colleges in North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia and in Latin America.