After years of in-depth preparation and a thorough on-site visit, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) has reaffirmed the College's accreditation for another 10-year period with no focused visits or additional monitoring reports.
Sanction free accreditation is important because it is an indication of academic and institutional strength. Jefferson College is thankful to the Commission for their efforts to make certain that the College’s academic programs, services, and operations remain strong.
This is the sixth consecutive period in the 56-year history of Jefferson College that the institution has received the highest possible length of accreditation. The HLC reaffirmation recommendation of 10 years is the best possible outcome Jefferson College could receive.
The College was evaluated on five criteria: mission; integrity; teaching and learning - quality/resources/support and evaluation/improvement; and resources, planning and institutional effectiveness. Additionally, a Federal Compliance Review was also part of the reaccreditation evaluation process.
“This has been a tremendous team effort, with extraordinary thanks going to Vice Presidents Dr. Caron Daugherty and Dr. Kim Harvey in addition to members of the HLC Assurance Argument Task Force and criterion subcommittees, Federal Compliance Task Force, and Accreditation Committee for leading us through the reaccreditation process to achieve the maximum reaccreditation of 10 years,” said College President Dr. Raymond Cummiskey. “The affirmation expressed in the HLC’s final report is a testament to the hard work of faculty, staff, and students. I am thankful for everyone who participated in this important review process and am both humbled and grateful that the HLC team recognized the passion and pride our community has for the mission of Jefferson College.”
The final step in the reaccreditation process includes formal approval of the report by the HLC Institutional Actions Council. A final accreditation report will then be issued from the Higher Learning Commission. The College’s next HLC reaffirmation/reaccreditation will occur in 2028-2029.
There are three reasons why HLC accreditation is important for Jefferson College. (1) In order to receive federal Title IV funding Jefferson College must be fully accredited by the HLC, a regional accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Approximately 55 percent of Jefferson College students receive Title IV aid. (2) Many students transfer to other institutions of higher learning. Accreditation by the HLC assures that credits earned at Jefferson College will be accepted by other colleges and universities. (3) Receiving accreditation from the HLC assures that students are being provided a high-quality education at Jefferson College.
Accreditation is a voluntary, independent review of educational programs to determine that the education provided is of uniform and sound quality. In addition to assuring students and the public regarding educational quality and adherence to academic standards, accreditation determines an institution’s eligibility for participation in federal (Title IV) and state financial aid programs. Accreditation is also important for the acceptance and transfer of college credit and is a prerequisite for many graduate programs.
Jefferson College’s Top 10
Since Jefferson College’s last accreditation affirmation in 2009, a multitude of initiatives were completed that improved learning and service to students. Some of them include:
- $5 million renovation of Library
- Creation of an Academic Success Center
- Establishment of an attendance tracking system via HLC Quality Initiative
- Implementation of numerous safety initiatives (security cameras, crosswalks, Campus Police Department, safety training for campus constituencies)
- Growth of Career and Technical Education third-party accreditations
- Updates of campus-wide Information Technology infrastructure
- Expansion of early college opportunities via NACEP accreditation, high school student completion of AA degree, high school completion of 42-hour general education core, online AA degree, and 1/3 shared cost partnerships
- Addition of Health Occupation academic programs – Health Information Technology, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Physical Therapist Assistant, Radiologic Technology
- Participation in health and wellness activities (Mercy on Campus Clinic, 2016 Healthy Campus Award, Jefferson Foundation Grant funding)
- Implementation of institutional process improvement/efficiency (document imaging system, online employment application/tracking system, employee web time entry, online admissions application, online graduation application, online transcripts)
The mission of Jefferson College is to serve our community by delivering quality learning opportunities that empower individuals to achieve their goals.