South Mountain Community College carries the maximum 10-year accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. A member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, SMCC is also a federally-designated Hispanic and Minority Serving Institution.
As one of the ten Maricopa Community Colleges and the nation's largest district in terms of number of students served, SMCC maintains a long history of quality in education.
What is Accreditation?
Accreditation is a voluntary peer review process that provides colleges and universities with the impetus to critically evaluate their purposes and whether those purposes are being achieved. Voluntary accreditation ensures quality and institutional improvement.
Who is responsible?
Six regional agencies provide institutional accreditation on a geographical basis - Middle States, New England, North Central, Northwest, Southern, and Western.
South Mountain Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and a member of the North Central Association (NCA).
The Higher Learning Commission
North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
30 North LaSalle Street, Suite 2400
Chicago, Illinois 60602-2504
Telephone (800) 621.7440
Fax (312) 263.7462
Why is it important?
- ensures the quality and integrity of SMCC's programs and services.
- allows students to transfer credits to other accredited colleges and universities.
- enables students to obtain financial aid and veteran's services.
- allows the college to participate in projects funded by federal grants.
- ensures that the college can recruit and retain quality faculty and staff.
How does it happen?
Following an initial accreditation, colleges and universities are evaluated every ten years and/or periodically as necessary. Institutions conduct a self-study, submit the self-study report to the HLC, and prepare for an onsite visit from peer reviewers representing the accrediting agency. According to the HLC, these consultant-evaluators have two primary responsibilities: to offer advice to institutions to help them improve the quality of the education they provide and to evaluate and confirm the quality of an educational institution.