Dixie State University of Utah is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). With the award of accreditation, NWCCU recognizes Dixie State University’s demonstrated ability to meet broadly accepted higher education standards of quality.
Institutional accreditation is a process of recognizing educational institutions for performance, integrity, and quality that entitles them to the confidence of the educational community and the public. In the United States accreditation functions through voluntary membership associations that establish accreditation criteria, evaluate, and approve institutions that meet the criteria. Dixie State University undergoes periodic reviews by NWCCU to maintain its accredited status. Evaluations are conducted primarily by faculty, staff, and administrative peers in the profession who review Dixie’s self-evaluation reports, make site visits, and produce team reports.
Institutional accreditation is granted by a regional accrediting agency within a scope of authority approved by the U.S. Department of Education. It is important to note, however, that accreditation originates and functions within higher education itself, and not in government. Accrediting organizations are private (nongovernmental), nonprofit, and autonomous. Institutional accreditation applies to Dixie State University as a whole, not individual programs or units within the university. It indicates that, as a whole, DSU is substantially fulfilling its mission.
Specialized accreditation of certain professional schools and individual educational programs is granted by a number of national organizations, each representing a professional area such as business, dental hygiene, education, or nursing. Though each of these organizations has its distinctive definitions of eligibility, criteria for accreditation, and operating procedures, accreditation by a specialized accrediting agency is one means of assuring quality of the accredited programs. Dixie State University has a number of academic programs with specialized or professional accreditation. Click here to view Dixie’s programs with specialized or professional accreditation.
WHY ACCREDITATION IS IMPORTANT
Accreditation is a major way that students, their families, governments, and the press know that Dixie State University offers quality educational services. Accreditation is not only valuable because it signals quality assurance; it also matters in other important ways:
- Students who want federal (and sometimes state) grants and loans need to attend a college, university, or program that is accredited.
- Employers ask if a college, university, or program is accredited before deciding to provide tuition assistance to current employees, when evaluating the credentials of new employees, or when making a charitable contribution.
- The federal government requires that a college, university, or program be accredited in order to be eligible for federal grants and loans or other federal funds.
- State governments require that a college, university, or program be accredited when they make state funds available to students or institutions and when they allow students to sit for state licensure examinations in some professional fields.
- Accreditation also aids students as they move between colleges and universities by easing the transfer of academic credits.
NWCCU writes that “while accreditation criteria and procedures of regional accrediting agencies differ from region to region, the principles underlying eligibility and levels of expectation are similar in their intent.” Accreditation provides assurance “to the educational community, the general public, and other organizations that an institution has clearly defined and appropriate educational objectives, has established conditions under which their achievement can reasonably be expected, appears in fact to be substantially accomplishing them, and is so organized, staffed, and supported that it can be expected to continue to do so.”