Firm Footing: Foundations for Student Academic Success
(Higher Learning Commission - Major Quality Initiative)




Institutional and Programmatic Accreditation


Institutional Accreditation

Institutional accreditation is the process by which the University demonstrates to the public that it is fulfilling its mission to provide a quality education through the appropriate use of its resources and its adherence to the criteria established for all colleges and university in our region in the North Central region by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).  The university was first accredited in 1928 as Wisconsin State College at La Crosse and has maintained that accreditation to this day.  UW-L last reaffirmed its accreditation in 2006, and continues this commitment to quality though continuous internal and external review. 

UW-L is anticipating its next review in 2015-2016, and will be one of the first groups of institutions nationally to undertake one of the new HLC Pathways Accreditation Processes to reaffirm its continued accreditation.  This process includes a comprehensive evaluation including assurance and federal compliance reviews, as well as an on-site visit from the HLC.


Programmatic Accreditation

Programmatic accreditation is the process by which already accredited institutions obtain accreditation designated for specific programs, departments, or professions. 

For instance, some professions are regulated by state licensing boards that may mandate applicants to have graduated from academic programs accredited by a particular agency or organization.  
Programmatic accreditation ensures that students meet professional standards, are eligible for professional licensing, and/or can continue graduate-level studies at other institutions through reviewing, verifying, and recognizing UW-L programs that meet rigorous standards of quality.  

If a program does not have an external accrediting body, they participate in the Academic Program Review initiated by
UW-L every 7 years.


For more information about institutional and programmatic accreditation, contact System Liaison/UW-L Academic Planner Dr. Sandra Grunwald