Washington University in St. Louis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
The HLC is one of the six regional accreditors recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
The university's 2014 reaccreditation was maintained through the HLC's Program to Evaluate and Advance Quality (PEAQ). PEAQ employs a four-step comprehensive evaluation process, which takes place every 10 years, to determine accreditation status. The program consists of an institutional self-study, an evaluation by a team of trained peer reviewers and final decision-making by the commission through three panels.
PEAQ’s comprehensive evaluation process consists of four steps:
- The organization engages in a self-study process for approximately two years and prepares a report of its findings in accordance with commission expectations.
- The commission sends a team of peer reviewers to conduct a comprehensive visit for continued accreditation and to write a report containing the team’s recommendation.
- The documents relating to the comprehensive visit are reviewed by a decision-making body.
- The decision-making body takes action on the team’s recommendation.
As of 2015, Washington University participates in the HLC's Open Pathway accreditation process. The Open Pathway process operates on a 10-year cycle focused on both assurance and improvement. The components of the comprehensive evaluation are: an assurance review, a review of federal compliance, an on-site visit and, if applicable, a multicampus review. For more information about Washington University's 10-year cycle, please visit the Office of the Provost website.