Assessment, Accreditation and Strategic Planning


Accreditation is formal recognition of the quality of an educational institution.

Western Illinois University's accreditation is granted by the Higher Learning Commission, or HLC, as a result of a systematic evaluation of the institution as a whole. Their evaluation will include a review of educational activities, governance, administration, financial stability, admissions, student services, institutional resources, student learning, institutional effectiveness, and relationships with internal and external constituencies.

Click on the tabs below to learn more about the Accreditation Process.


Western Illinois University's accreditation is granted by the  Higher Learning Commission

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is an independent corporation that was founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. HLC accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the North Central region, which includes 19 states

HLC's mission is to serve the common good by assuring and advancing the quality of higher learning.

WIU last reaffirmed its accredited status in 2011. Since then, the university has participated in HLC's Persistence & Completion Academy (2014-2018). This process helped the university to reflect, review and grow to better support and retain students.


Western Illinois University began preparing for the April 2021 reaffirmation of accreditation visit in Academic Year 2018-2019. The Social Responsibility Task Force produced rough drafts that were shared with the University community through Monthly Strategic Plan Updates. As revised drafts of the criteria for accreditation and federal compliance standards are finalized, they will be posted under the tabs on this website.

Spring 2019 – Fall 2019

Continued Social Responsibility Task Force meetings and compilation of supporting evidence for the assurance document

Fall 2019

Federal compliance document submitted

Spring 2020

Annual institutional review completed and submitted to HLC

Spring 2020 – Summer 2020

Assurance argument writing team continues work, contact with HLC Liaison, development of criteria working groups

Summer 2020

Implementation of criteria working groups

Fall 2020

Assurance argument document shared with Assurance Argument Feedback Committee comprised of representatives from the entire WIU community

December 2020

Final BOT approval of assurance argument document

Spring 2021

Submit finalized assurance argument document

Spring 2021

HLC visit completed


The accreditation process consists of two main components:

Assurance Review – The university provides a narrative and supporting evidence that demonstrates it meets HLC’s five criteria for accreditation.

Supporting evidence must

  • substantiate the facts and arguments presented in the narrative,
  • respond to the prior HLC peer review team’s concerns and recommendations,
  • explain any nuances specific to the university,
  • strengthen the university’s overall compliance record, and
  • affirm the university’s overall academic quality, financial stability, and integrity.

Campus Visit – HLC peer-review team members will visit campus and meet with stakeholders


Western Illinois University will be evaluated according to the following five criteria, which are the primary subjects of the written study and the on-campus visit:

Criterion 1. Mission 

Demonstrate that the institution’s mission is clear and articulated publicly, and that it guides the institution’s operations.

Criterion 2. Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct 

Demonstrate that the university acts with integrity, and that its conduct is ethical and responsible.

Criterion 3. Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support

Demonstrate that the university provides quality education in all its offerings.

Criterion 4. Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement 

Demonstrate responsibility for the quality of educational programs, learning environments, and support services, as well as effectiveness for student learning through evaluation processes designed to promote continuous improvement.

Criterion 5. Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness 

Demonstrate that the University is meeting our mission through budgeting, processes, and planning.