About institutional accreditation


UAF Institutional Accreditation fell under a new process and standards in 2010-11 occurring on a seven-year cycle.  The process and standards have undergone further changes in 2020.

Accreditation One-Page Overview

Seven-Year Cycle Reporting

The Mid-Cycle Evaluation, in the third year of the cycle, is intended to ascertain an institution’s readiness to provide outcomes and evidence (outcomes) of mission fulfillment in the Evaluation of Institutional Effectiveness which will occur in the Year Seven. It is to assist institutions in determining if the process of outcomes assessment will lead them to a successful Year Seven self-evaluation and peer evaluation. It is intended to be a formative and collegial evaluation with the institution in conversation with the evaluators.

The Year Six Policies, Regulations and Financial Review evaluates the institution under NWCCU's eligibility requirements, standards, and policies, as well as federal regulations. The process is designed to prompt conversation on institutional capacity and infrastructure, strengths, weaknesses, priorities, and plans for ensuring compliance with accreditation Standard Two, as well as student learning, student success, institutional effectiveness, and institutional improvement.

The Year Seven Evaluation of Institutional Effectiveness includes a comprehensive self-evaluation and external review of all accreditation standards.

Current update

The first Year One Report was submitted in September 2012. This will no longer be required under the new 2020 process.

The first Mid Cycle Report was submitted in September 2014.

The Year Seven  Report was submitted in August 2020.

Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Standards and guidelines
Year AY Accreditation Reports Standards Included in the Report
7 2011-2012 Initial Comprehensive Self-Evaluation **site visit All five standards
1 2012-2013 Year One Report Due August 2012 Standard One
2 2013-2014    
3 2014-2015 Mid-Cycle Evaluation Due August 2014 **site visit Standards One and Two
4 2015-2016    
5 2016-2017    
6 2017-2018    
* 2018-2019  *review rescheduled to 2019-20 by NWCCU*  
* 2019-2020 *review deferred to 2020-21 at UAF's request*  
7 2020-2021 Year Seven Report Due August 2020-Evaluation of Institutional Effectiveness **site visit All standards
1 2021-2022    
2 2022-2023    
3 2023-2024  Mid-Cycle Evaluation Report Due **site visit  
4 2024-2025    
5 2025-2026    
6 2026-2027 Year Six Report Due-Policies, Regulations and Financial Review Standard two
7 2027-2028 Year Seven Report Due-Evaluation of Institutional Effectiveness **site visit All standards
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) Accreditation Standards
Standard One: Student Success and Institutional Mission and Effectiveness
Standard Two: Governance, Resources and Capacity


Accreditation is a voluntary process of self regulation and peer review adopted by the higher education community. In the United States this recognition is extended largely through nongovernmental, voluntary professional associations that have responsibility for establishing criteria, evaluating institutions against the criteria, and approving institutions that meet the criteria. Accreditation is an affirmation that a college provides a quality of education that the general public has the right to expect and that the educational community recognizes.

In American higher education, accreditation fulfills a number of important functions, including the encouragement of efforts toward maximum educational effectiveness. In addition:

  • Since accreditation is reviewed periodically, institutions are encouraged toward continued self-study and improvement.
  • State and federal government agencies often require the accreditation of an institution in making financial aid monies, grants and other funds available to both the institution and the students who attend it.
  • Accreditation can aid in the transfer of collegiate credit, although there are various kinds of institutions and accreditation, and transfer of credit between institutions is not automatic.
  • Employers may value degrees from accredited universities more highly compared to those from non-accredited universities, since accreditation gives some assurance of the quality of the education obtained.

Note: This statement is pursuant to NWCCU requirements on disclosure of accreditation status.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Accreditation of an institution of higher education by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities indicates that it meets or exceeds criteria for the assessment of institutional quality evaluated through a peer review process. An accredited college or university is one which has available the necessary resources to achieve its stated purposes through appropriate educational programs, is substantially doing so, and gives reasonable evidence that it will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Institutional integrity is also addressed through accreditation.

Accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities is not partial but applies to the institution as a whole. As such, it is not a guarantee of every course or program offered, or the competence of individual graduates. Rather, it provides reasonable assurance about the quality of opportunities available to students who attend the institution.

Inquiries regarding an institution’s accredited status by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities should be directed to the administrative staff of the institution. Individuals may also contact:

Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
8060 165th Avenue N.E., Suite 100
Redmond, WA 98052

As stated above, institutional accreditation applies to the institution as a whole and does not guarantee any individual degree or program within the institution. When available, individual programs may seek specialized accreditation, which evaluates programs based on discipline- or profession-based standards. Students who complete an accredited curriculum enjoy additional confidence that experts in that field have evaluated the program and testified to its quality. Program accreditation may also enable students to more easily obtain professional certifications or registration in their field.

For a list of specialized accreditation, certifications and standards held by UAF programs visit "Specialized accreditation".

NWCCU has a policy addressing complaints against member institutions.  If appropriate and in compliance with the policy, such communications should be addressed to:

Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
8060 165th Avenue N.E., Suite 100
Redmond, WA 98052