Higher Learning Commission Accreditation
What is the Higher Learning Commission?
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. HLC accredits degree-granting postsecondary educational institutions in the North Central region, which includes the states of Minnesota and Arizona.
Due to HLC's Policy on Affiliated Institutions (INST.B.10.020), the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science (MCCMS) campus in Florida receives accreditation through affiliation with the educational and operational activities on the Rochester campus.
Why is it important?
The federal government has a distinct interest in the role of accreditation in assuring quality in higher education for the students who benefit from federal financial aid programs. Institutions must be accredited by a federally recognized accrediting agency to qualify for participation in federal financial aid programs such as Federal Pell Grants and the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program.
In addition to eligibility to receive federal financial aid, there are other significant benefits to MCCMS students. For example, employers often verify the accreditation of a college or university before they will pay for tuition or fees as part of a company-sponsored benefits program.
Attending a regionally accredited institution is an important consideration for a student to transfer credits to another institution or to pursue admission to graduate programs. Regionally accredited colleges and universities typically only accept credits from other regionally accredited institutions due to accreditation's assurance that the college or university adheres to high standards.
HLC Open Pathway
HLC has established five criteria for accreditation and evaluates colleges and universities to verify that they are met. The criteria set forth basic standards in areas such as mission, integrity, educational quality and resources.
MCCMS has elected to follow the Open Pathway for maintaining accreditation with HLC. It follows a 10-year cycle and is focused on quality assurance and institutional improvement. The Open Pathway is unique in that its improvement component, the Quality Initiative, affords MCCMS the opportunity to pursue improvement projects that help continuously improve service to students.
Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science's last reaffirmation occurred in 2018-2019. The next reaffirmation will occur in 2028-2029.