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University Accreditation

Open Pathway Process

Northwestern currently participates in the HLC's Open Pathway for Reaffirmation of Accreditation process, which includes both improvement and assurance components. As part of this process, the University engages in several activities with the HLC throughout the 10-year cycle, including: 

  • Submitting annual institutional updates;
  • In the first year, providing interim reports as needed;
  • In the fourth year, preparing an updated “Assurance Argument” articulating how Northwestern meets the accreditation criteria;
  • In years five through nine, proposing and completing a “Quality Initiative,” or improvement project, that suits the University’s present challenges or aspirations; and
  • In year 10, undergoing a comprehensive evaluation, including an assurance review, a review of federal compliance, and an on-site visit.

Assessment/Accreditation Council

The Office of the Provost manages accreditation activities, engaging members of the campus community, including faculty, staff, and students, in the assembly and development of accreditation materials as necessary. In addition, Northwestern’s Assessment/Accreditation Council advises on and facilitates matters related to the University’s reaffirmation of accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission.


Please direct any questions regarding the University’s accreditation to Roma Khanna (, Associate Provost for Strategy and Policy.