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Reaffirmation of Accreditation, 2024-25

In 2024-25, Northwestern will undergo its 10-year comprehensive review for re-accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Northwestern has been accredited by the HLC since 1913 – a status that signifies educational quality and establishes the University’s eligibility to participate in federal student aid programs.  

Review Elements 

As part of the review process, Northwestern is required to submit a report, called an “assurance argument,” that tells the story of how the University meets all five criteria for accreditation articulated by the HLC. The re-accreditation report will be supported by hundreds of evidence documents from schools and units across Northwestern. 

Criteria for Accreditation 

Criterion 1. Mission 

The institution’s mission is clear and articulated publicly; it guides the institution’s operations.  

Criterion 2. Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct 

The institution acts with integrity; its conduct is ethical and responsible. 

Criterion 3. Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support 

The institution provides quality education, wherever and however its offerings are delivered. 

Criterion 4. Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement 

The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs, learning environments, and support services, and it evaluates their effectiveness for student learning through processes designed to promote continuous improvement.  

Criterion 5. Institutional Effectiveness, Resources and Planning 

The institution’s resources, structures, processes and planning are sufficient to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its educational offerings, and respond to future challenges and opportunities. 


Northwestern also will submit a federal compliance filing and distribute a survey provided by the HLC to all students. These materials will be shared with a team of peer reviewers from HLC-accredited institutions before they visit Evanston on April 28 and 29, 2025. During the site visit, the peer review team will observe the campus and speak with faculty, staff, students and University leadership to deepen and clarify their perspective on the University’s case for re-accreditation as presented through the Northwestern-provided materials. The schedule of opportunities to engage with the peer review team will become available as we near April 2025. 

While engaging in this comprehensive review is a requirement of maintaining accreditation, it also provides Northwestern an opportunity to reflect on and showcase how we manifest our institution’s commitments to excellent teaching, innovative research, and the personal and intellectual growth of our students in a diverse academic community. We hope you will join us in this unique opportunity to tell the Northwestern story. 


Preparing for a successful re-accreditation is a multi-year process. The following timeline provides an overview of the anticipated steps and milestones. Additional specifics are provided to the appropriate units and individuals as necessary. 


  • Core team in the Office of the Provost develops process plan and timeline for fulfilling comprehensive review requirements 

January-August 2024: 

September 2024-March 2025: 

  • First draft of re-accreditation report is completed 
  • Assessment and Accreditation Council and other campus units help to review and revise report 
  • Federal compliance filing is prepared  
  • Plans for campus visit are developed 
  • HLC’s Student Opinion Survey is distributed 
  • Final review and approval of re-accreditation report completed by University leadership 

By March 31, 2025: 

  • Re-accreditation report and federal compliance filing are submitted 

April 28-29, 2025: 

  • Peer review team visits Evanston campus 


A core team within the Office of the Provost will manage all components of the re-accreditation process and engage University leaders, faculty, staff and students in the assembly of re-accreditation materials and preparation for the peer review visit. 

Any questions about the upcoming re-accreditation can be directed to: 

Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQs shed light on some of the key aspects of the process.