Anoka-Ramsey Community College is fully accredited by and a member of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).



About Accreditation

  • Accreditation is the result of a positive external review by an authorized agency such as the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Accreditation assures the public that a college, university, school, or program can do its job. While many academic agencies accredit particular programs of study (nursing, business, physical therapy assistant, etc.), the Higher Learning Commission and other regional accrediting agencies are responsible for assuring that colleges and universities meet certain standards in terms of their missions, operations, and activities in teaching and student learning, discovery and promotion of knowledge, and service. Unaccredited schools are not eligible for many kinds of federal support.

  • Six regional associations are responsible for the accreditation of colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning: North Central, Middle States, New England, Northwest, Southern and Western Associations.

  • The Open Pathway separates the continued accreditation process into two components: the Assurance Review and the Quality Initiative.

    • Two Assurance Reviews take place in the ten-year cycle; one in Year 4 and one in Year 10. The Year 4 review occurs asynchronously via the Commission’s online Assurance System and without a visit. The Year 10 review also is conducted with the Assurance System but includes a visit to the campus, as noted below. No change requests may be combined with the Year 4 review; all change requests at Year 4 are evaluated separately through the Commission’s change process.
    • Between Years 5 and 9 of the ten-year cycle, the institution proposes and completes a Quality Initiative. The Assurance Reviews free the Quality Initiative to focus on institutional innovation and improvement. The institution undertakes a Quality Initiative as something it elects to suit its own purposes. Its timeframe is flexible to accommodate the amount of time necessary to complete or make substantial progress toward completion.
    • In Year 10, the institution undergoes a comprehensive evaluation.
  • The Open Pathway seeks to achieve the following goals:

    • To enhance institutional value by opening the improvement aspect of accreditation so that institutions may choose Quality Initiatives to suit their current circumstances
    • To reduce the reporting burden on institutions by utilizing as much information and data as possible from existing institutional processes and collecting them in electronic form as they naturally occur over time
    • To enhance rigor by checking institutional data annually (Institutional Update) and conducting Assurance Reviews twice in the ten-year cycle
    • To integrate as much as possible all HLC processes and HLC requests for data into the reaffirmation of accreditation cycle.
  • The Criteria for Accreditation are the standards of quality by which the Commission determines whether an institution merits accreditation or reaffirmation of accreditation. They are as follows:

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

    Criterion Two. Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct
    The institution acts with integrity; its conduct is ethical and responsible.

    Criterion Three. Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support
    The institution provides high quality education, wherever and however its offering are delivered.

    Criterion Four. 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 Five. Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness
    The institution’s resources, structures, and processes are sufficient to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its educational offerings, and respond to future challenges and opportunities. The institution plans for the future.

  • The most recent HLC visit to campus took place in 2016. Based on this review, the college's accreditation was reaffirmed.

  • Trained administrators, staff, faculty from around the country who have been accepted as Consultant-Evaluators by the Higher Learning Commission.

  • The team receives the complete college Self-Study Report and has access to documents via the website prior to and during the site visit. During the visit, they validate the content of the report in terms of the identified strengths, as well as concerns that need attention or issues that may confront us in the future. Team members meet with key individuals and groups from across the college and by open meetings.

Supplementary Information

  • Contacts

    Nora Morris
    Dean of Institutional Effectiveness

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