Formed in 1962, the WASC Senior College and University Commission (“the Commission”) is an accrediting agency serving a diverse membership of public and private higher education institutions in the United States and around the world. Through its work of peer review, based on standards agreed to by the membership, the Commission encourages continuous institutional improvement and assures the membership and its constituencies, including the public, that accredited institutions are fulfilling their missions in service to their students and the public good.

The WASC Senior College and University Commission is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as certifying institutional eligibility for federal funding in a number of programs, including student access to federal financial aid.

There are three main accrediting commissions:

  • Accrediting Commission for Schools (ASCWASC)
  • Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC)
  • Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities (WSCUC)

WSCUC Standards

From the 2013 Accreditation Handbook (updated in 2021):

The Standards of Accreditation consist of four broad, holistic statements that reflect widely accepted good practices in higher education. WSCUC institutions are diverse in terms of mission, character, and type. The Standards are broad enough to honor that diversity, respect institutional mission, and support institutional autonomy. At the same time, institutions must demonstrate that they are in substantial compliance with the four Standards and related Criteria for Review in order to become and remain accredited. The four Standards are: 

  • Standard 1: Defining Institutional Purposes and Ensuring Educational Objectives
  • Standard 2: Achieving Educational Objectives Through Core Functions
  • Standard 3: Developing and Applying Resources and Organizational Structures to Ensure Quality and Sustainability
  • Standard 4: Creating an Organization Committed to Quality Assurance, Institutional Learning, and Improvement

From the 2023 Accreditation Handbook:

The Standards establish the foundational values and broad principles of good practice by which an institution achieves and maintains accreditation with WSCUC and also form the basis for institutional review. The four Standards, which are further defined and amplified by the Criteria for Review (CFRs), express a commitment to success for all students, ensure institutional quality, and promote institutional cultures of evidence and improvement. The 2022 Standards are designed to advance quality, accountability, and improvement in service of equitable student learning, student success, and institutional effectiveness. The four Standards are: 

  • Standard 1: Defining Institutional Mission and Acting with Integrity
  • Standard 2: Achieving Educational Objectives and Student Success 
  • Standard 3: Assuring Resources and Organizational Structures 
  • Standard 4: Creating an Institution Committed to Quality Assurance and Improvement

Additional Resources