The Higher Learning Commission

SWIC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. We have held this accreditation since 1961. Since 2001, the college has been an AQIP Institution. 

What is Higher Learning Commission Accreditation?

HLC logo

All mainstream American colleges and universities are accredited by one of six regional institutional accrediting associations. This accreditation is the key criterion used by government in determining eligibility for financial aid. Accreditation status is also critical when colleges and universities determine the eligibility of coursework for transfer from one institution to another. Since the late 19th Century, accreditation has existed as the foremost indicator of quality and excellence in American higher learning.

Institutions earn their accreditation through a rigorous process of self-study and a program of self-improvement. The principle of peer review is central to accreditation. This means that faculty and staff from other HLC-accredited institutions are actively involved in evaluation and that member institutions are assessed in reference to the expectations and conventions commonly shared by the higher education community.

The Higher Learning Commission is part of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The association was founded in 1895 as a membership organization for educational institutions. It is committed to developing and maintaining high standards of excellence.

The association is one of the six regional institutional accrediting associations in the United States. Through its commissions, it accredits and, thereby, grants membership to educational institutions in the 19-state north central region: Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming.

The Higher Learning Commission is recognized by the secretary of education and the Committee on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation (CORPA), now continued under CHEA, the Council on Higher Education Accreditation.

To learn more, visit the Higher Learning Commission website.

Public Comment and Notification of Scheduled Accreditation Visit

Southwestern Illinois College is seeking comments from the public about the college in preparation for its periodic evaluation by its regional accrediting agency. SWIC will host a visit Nov. 2-4, 2015, with a team of representatives from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. The team will review the institution’s ongoing ability to meet the Commission’s Criteria for Accreditation. SWIC has been accredited by the HLC since 1961.

The public may submit comments on the HLC website or by writing to: 

Public Comments on Southwestern Illinois College
The Higher Learning Commission 
230 S. LaSalle St., Suite 7-500
Chicago, IL 60604-1411

Comments must address substantive matters related to the quality of the institution or its academic programs. Comments must be in writing.

All comments must be received by Oct. 3, 2015.

AQIP Accreditation

SWIC is accredited through the Higher Learning Commission's Academic Quality Improvement Project (AQIP). As an AQIP institution, continuing accreditation is contingent on an ongoing cycle of self-examination; identification of programmatic and institutional needs; and a program of positive action that leads to self-improvement. Extending an uninterrupted streak to 70 years, SWIC was re-accredited through 2016. This seven-year extension is the maximum allowed for colleges and universities selected to participate in the HLC's AQIP program.

What is AQIP?

AQIP is a self-assessment and self-improvement process that helps us achieve our mission and values and improve the quality of student learning.

The AQIP process focuses on continuous improvement and gives SWIC the opportunity to show that it meets the Higher Learning Commission's accreditation standards through the pursuit of well-focused quality improvement projects (Action Projects), through rigorous adherence to the commission's five criteria for accreditation.

Besides attesting to a commitment to self-improvement, accreditation means that SWIC course credits transfer more easily and that courses qualify for the federal financial aid that is so vital in this economy.

To learn more about our key processes and systems view our current 2013 Systems Portfolio. Past submissions and previous Systems Appraisal Feedback Reports can also be found on our archives page.

To learn more about AQIP, visit the Higher Learning Commission  AQIP website.