The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is an independent corporation that was founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. HLC accredits degree granting institutions of higher education in a 19-state region. The wide range of institutions that HLC accredits are evaluated against HLC's Criteria for Accreditation, a set of standards that institutions must meet to receive and/or maintain accredited status.

HLC's Criteria for Accreditation reflect a set of guiding values. The accreditation process is based on a system of peer review. Approximately 1,300 educators from institutions of higher education serve as peer reviewers conducting accreditation evaluations for other institutions. Peer reviewers also serve on committees that make up the decision-making bodies of the accreditation process. Learn more about the Commission.

Benedictine University maintains its accreditation with HLC through the AQIP pathways. AQIP is an acronym for Academic Quality Improvement Program. Benedictine University has been an AQIP institution since 2003. There are about 200 institutions using the AQIP pathway for accreditation.

The AQIP pathway is one of three options institutions have for maintaining accreditation with HLC. Like the other pathways, it is focused on quality assurance and institutional improvement, but with an added emphasis on helping institutions achieve continuous quality improvement. The AQIP pathway follows an eight-year cycle.

Benedictine University is scheduled for its Reaffirmation of Accreditation visit in November 7-9, 2016. This visit, which is known as the Comprehensive Quality Review (CQR) occurs at the end of the eight-year cycle. The CQR visit will consist of a team of peer reviewers who engage the University in discussions about its Action Projects, initiatives featured in the Systems Portfolio, and strategies designed through the Strategy Forum.

The peer reviewers will gather information from the University's previous Systems Portfolio, the CQR Quality Highlights Report and other institutional documents to determine if the criteria for accreditation are met. The CQR Quality Highlights Report is critical in providing evidence that the University is committed to continuous quality improvement.

University Planning and Research

Sheila Coffin 
Executive Director of University Planning and Research

(630) 829-6664