Accreditation FAQs

The University of Arizona is pursuing institutional accreditation with Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College & University Commission (WSCUC). Learn more about accreditation and the university’s current accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Through its affiliation with UAGC (accredited by WSCUC), UArizona has experienced firsthand WSCUC's collaborative and thorough approach to accreditation and working with its accredited institutions to address concerns and pursue innovative opportunities.

Until 2019, each regional accreditor normally operated within a specific geographical region. In 2019, the U.S. Department of Education announced that accreditors could accredit institutions regardless of their geographic location. In February 2020, WSCUC announced it would consider applications from institutions in states outside of its original geographic region.

UArizona will benefit from WSCUC's high accreditation standards and direct support and guidance provided in addressing concerns, making continual improvements, and implementing programs to improve their effectiveness.

Other than the effort to prepare the institutional report that is required to apply for WSCUC accreditation, there are no known downsides to switching to WSCUC.  In preparing its institutional report, UArizona leveraged much of the information gathered and work done to submit the HLC 2021 assurance argument.

The institutions in the California State University and University of California systems are accredited by WSCUC. Notably, AAU members UC Berkeley, UC Los Angeles, University of Southern California, California Institute for Technology, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz, and Stanford are accredited by WSCUC.

WSCUC has an institutional portfolio focused on approximately 200 four-year colleges and doctoral universities. UArizona believes it will receive institution-specific and direct support from WSCUC in pursuing its objectives for high quality, innovative academic programs and research, all in furtherance of its land-grant mission. Conversations with colleagues at peer institutions confirm this belief. View all WSCUC-accredited institutions.


In seeking a change of accrediting agencies, UArizona is not seeking to lessen oversight or rigor. UArizona is seeking this change because the WSCUC mission and approach to supporting the institutions it accredits  are closely aligned with UArizona's mission.

Plans to acquire UAGC prompted UArizona to consider all options for institutional accreditation. After initial discussions with HLC about UArizona's innovative and access-expanding strategy to acquire UAGC, and related discussions with WSCUC about the support and guidance they provide as its institutions seek new and more effective and efficient ways to serve their students, communities, and the nation, it was determined that the best course of action for UArizona is to change accreditors from HLC to WSCUC.

Before UArizona may acquire UAGC, WSCUC (UAGC’s current accreditor) must approve this proposed substantive change in UAGC’s ownership and control. WSCUC’s policy and guidelines regarding change in ownership and control and other substantive changes include the following:

UAGC, in collaboration with UArizona, intends to submit its substantive change proposal to WSCUC. UArizona and UAGC have begun to work on this proposal. In addition, working groups comprised of both UArizona and UAGC faculty and staff members will address the challenges of coordinating the operations of UAGC within UArizona. 

On November 14, 2022, the DOE approved UArizona’s request to change its primary accrediting agency from HLC to WSCUC. ABOR policies and procedures do not require formal action of the Board of Regents to authorize UArizona to change its primary accreditor. As a result, this decision is delegated to the UArizona President. President Robbins has communicated to the Regents his decision to pursue a change of UArizona's primary accreditor from HLC to WSCUC.

Following the DOE’s approval of UArizona’s request to change its primary accrediting agency, UArizona submitted its Application for Accreditation and Institutional Report to WSCUC. WSCUC’s revised Standards of Accreditation and Handbook of Accreditation may be found as follows:

Under WSCUC’s accreditation review procedures, a WSCUC peer review team will visit UArizona in January 2023 and will provide a report for the WSCUC’s review and consideration. UArizona anticipates that its Application for Accreditation will be considered for approval by WSCUC at its meeting on February 22 - 24, 2023.

A diverse group of campus colleagues, including many faculty members, some of whom are faculty senators or serve on shared governance committees, have supported the effort. Much of the content of the WSCUC Institutional Report was based on the extensive work completed by hundreds of campus colleagues to prepare the HLC 2021 Reaffirmation of Accreditation Self-Study Report. Strategic direction is provided by the Senior Vice Provost and Academic Liaison Officer, Gail Burd, who served as Executive Lead for the HLC 2021 Affirmation of Accreditation.

UArizona does not anticipate any significant financial impacts from pursuing WSCUC accreditation. UArizona will be required to pay WSCUC’s standard fees for accreditation review and then annual dues. These fees and dues are very similar to HLC’s fees and dues. The following links provide specific information on WSCUC’s fees and HLC’s fees.