Principles of Accreditation

Foundations for Quality Enhancement

Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement is the primary source describing the standards for accreditation. It contains the Core Requirements and Comprehensive Standards with which institutions must comply in order to be granted candidacy, initial accreditation, or reaffirmation, and is divided into the following four sections:


Section 1 - The Principle of Integrity,
Section 2 - Core Requirements,
Section 3 - Comprehensive Standards, and
Section 4 - Federal Requirements.


According to Principles of Accreditation: "compliance with the Core Requirements is essential for gaining and maintaining accreditation with the SACSCOC. The requirements establish a level of development required of an institution seeking initial or continued accreditation. Compliance with the Core Requirements is necessary but not sufficient to warrant accreditation or reaffirmation of accreditation."

In addition to compliance with the Core Requirements, Principles also states that the "Comprehensive Standards establish a necessary level of accomplishment expected of all member institutions." The Comprehensive Standards are grouped into three areas: 1) institution mission, governance, and effectiveness; 2) programs; and 3) resources.

Woven throughout the Comprehensive Standards are fundamental issues and processes that apply to many of the standards but that are not explicitly stated in all of them. The reason for this method of presenting the standards is to avoid redundancies. These recurring issues and processes include such topics as assessment of instructional effectiveness, evidence of planning and continuous improvement, adequacy of resources, quality of educational programs, and qualifications of faculty and staff. For instance, references to the process of assessment, planning, and use of evidence in improving programs and services may not be explicitly stated in standards related to all aspects of an institution's operations, but these processes apply to all institutional programs and services.