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What is accreditation?

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Stanford is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

University accreditation is the process by which nongovernmental, institutional accrediting agencies, like WSCUC, review universities and colleges on many areas of educational quality and effectiveness. Accreditation is a voluntary process and is unique to the United States, where higher education is not directly regulated by the government.

Among the benefits that lead Stanford and many universities and colleges to seek accreditation is that it provides students eligibility for federal financial aid and other federal programs.  Accreditation also supports universities in improving existing processes. Past accreditation efforts have been crucial in documenting and supporting program improvement as well as building a “culture of evidence” at Stanford. 

More on WSCUC's approach to accreditation 

The periodic accreditation process to re-affirm the university's accreditation status involves demonstrating how we meet WSCUC's Core Commitments and Standards of Accreditation through an institutional report and during a campus visit by a team of faculty and staff from peer institutions.

Our 2023 accreditation process

In addition to institutional accreditation, certain degree programs seek accreditation by professional or specialized accreditation organizations.