Just as the effectiveness of the peer-review system requires the institutional members to be involved and committed to the accreditation process, the Commission is also dedicated to the integrity of the process, for the member institutions and for the public that relies on accreditation as a trustworthy authority of educational quality. The responsibilities of the Commission include:
- Maintaining official records of Commission actions on institutions.
- Maintaining institutional reports, materials, and evaluation reports through two complete evaluation cycles.
- Sharing the member status (accredited, candidate, etc.) of institutions with other recognized accrediting bodies.
- Taking the actions of other accreditation agencies into account when considering whether to grant Candidacy or Initial Accreditation status.
- Taking the adverse actions of other accreditation agencies or state agencies into account when considering whether to reaffirm the accreditation of a member institution.
- Filing notifications with the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) within thirty (30) working days regarding the actions it has taken on institutions.
- Immediately filing copies of correspondence to institutions that involves adverse actions, such as Probations or Show-Cause.
- Responding to USDE inquiries regarding institutional eligibility for Higher Education Act programs, including Title IV (Student Assistance).
- Notifying institutions about claims of Title IV fraud and abuse.
- Sharing clear evidence of possible Title IV fraud and abuse with the USDE.
The Commission is charged with establishing accreditation criteria, evaluating institutions against that criteria, and approving the institutions that meet that criteria. As part of that process, NWCCU provides expert analysis by peer evaluators, and, later, commendations for accomplishments and recommendations for improvement. Since the accreditation status of an institution is reviewed periodically, institutions are encouraged toward continued self-study and improvement. NWCCU staff provide counsel and assistance to established and developing institutions throughout this continuous process.Â