December 14, 2022
The University of Arizona is in the process of gaining accreditation from a new agency, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College & University Commission.
Commission representatives are expected to visit the campus in Tucson between Jan. 17-20. After that, WSCUC will consider the UA’s application for approval, likely at its scheduled meeting in February.
Since 1917, the UA has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, which also oversees the accreditation of Pima Community College, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University.
The HLC reaffirmed the UA’s accreditation during the 2020-21 academic year, and doesn’t have another comprehensive review scheduled until 2030. However, the UA’s acquisition of Ashford University, a troubled for-profit online college, in 2020 first exposed the UA to WSCUC, the accrediting agency it’s now in the process of applying to.
WSCUC accredits more than 200 colleges and universities, including all of the institutions in the University of California System.
When the UA purchased Ashford, the online school’s accreditor, WSCUC, had already issued a notice of concern about low completion and retention rates, among other issues. Early last year, after the UA rebranded the school as the nonprofit University of Arizona Global Campus, the UA announced plans to fully integrate the roughly 28,000 students then enrolled at UA Global Campus into its operation.
Soon after that announcement, WSCUC issued a report that acknowledged some improvements at UAGC. Nonetheless, it continued the notice of concern until 2023, at which point it will reevaluate the school’s issues.
Last month, the U.S. Department of Education approved the UA’s request to switch accreditors, which has allowed the school to move forward with its application to WSCUC.