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Accreditation information

Your assurance of quality

West Shore Community College participates in the Open Pathway model of accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Open Pathways is one of three options institutions have for maintaining accreditation. Open Pathways follows a ten-year cycle and is focused on quality assurance and institutional improvement. 

The following periodic reviews are part of the Open Pathway cycle:

  • Annually - Open Pathway institutions submit an Institutional Update which is reviewed by HLC to monitor organizational health, compliance with certain federal requirements, and identify any changes that may require HLC follow up.

  • Year 4 - Institutions complete an Assurance Review at the fourth year. The institution provides documentation demonstrating how it fulfills each HLC criterion and core component. The documentation is reviewed by an evaluation team and recommends to the HLC’s Institutional Actions Council whether the institution should continue in the Open Pathway cycle or whether additional monitoring is required.

  • Years 5-9 – Institutions undertake a quality initiative project. HLC peer reviewers approve the project proposal as well as the final report of the project outcomes.

  • Year 10 – Institutions undergo a Comprehensive Evaluation to ensure compliance with HLC Criteria for Accreditation and U.S. Department of Education requirements. This review ultimately supports the institutions reaffirmation of accreditation.

If you have any questions regarding this report or its contents, contact Steve Sparling at 231-843-5824 or

If you would like to contact the HLC directly, their contact information is below:

Higher Learning Commission
230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
Chicago, IL 60604