Who are SACSCOC?
Accreditation of educational institutions in the United States is undertaken by private, non-governmental organizations created for the purpose of reviewing educational institutions or educational programs. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) is one of seven regional accrediting bodies recognized by the United Sates Department of Education. SACSCOC provides accreditation for institutions awarding associates, bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees in the following eleven states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Institutes accredited by SACSCOC must comply with the standards contained within the Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement.
Why is accreditation important?
Education providers that are accredited by a recognized accrediting body demonstrate they have met a minimum standard of quality and are qualified to teach the programs offered. Credits earned at an accredited institution are more likely to transfer to other institutions, and qualifications earned at an accredited institution are more likely to be accepted by employers. Furthermore, federal and state funding is often only available to students who are attending accredited institutions.
How does the accreditation process work?
Northwest Florida State College, then Okaloosa-Walton Junior College, was first accredited by SACSCOC in 1968, and has successfully completed the reaffirmation process every decade since. Northwest Florida State College is currently in the process of reaffirmation, with a decision of reaffirmation by SACSCOC due in spring 2021.
As part of the reaffirmation process the college will submit two documents to SACSCOC, a Compliance Certification and a Quality Enhancement Plan. Following this SACSCOC will complete both an off-site review of the college, where they review the Compliance Certification, and an on-site visit to resolve any issues found in the Compliance Certification and evaluate and advise on the Quality Enhancement Plan. Both the off-site and on-site reviewers will compile a report to submit to the SACSCOC Committee on Compliance and Reports.
The Committee on Compliance and Reports will review these reports before making a recommendation to the SACSCOC Executive Council regarding reaffirmation. The Executive Council recommends action to the full Board of Trustees, who will determine the final decision on the college’s reaffirmation of accreditation.
How can I find out more about SACSCOC and the accreditation process?
More information about SACSCOC can be found on their website: www.sacscoc.org
Further information about college accreditation in the United States can be found at the US Department of Education website: https://www.ed.gov/accreditation