University Accreditation

What is Accreditation?

According to the U.S. Department of Education, accreditation is defined as "the recognition that an institution maintains standards requisite for its graduates to gain admission to other reputable institutions of higher learning or to achieve credentials for professional practice. The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality." 

Grand Valley ensures that all educational programming provided by the University meets or exceeds the levels of quality prescribed by national and regional accrediting bodies. The Office of the Provost plays many roles in these accreditation processes to ensure new accreditations are secured and existing accreditations are maintained on a timely, efficient basis, including monitoring institutional compliance with accreditation requirements on an ongoing basis.

Like many other academic institutions of higher learning, GVSU is responsible for maintaining both program-level accreditations by way of each program's governing body as well as university accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission. The purpose of such layered evaluation is to ensure that the university is hitting necessary targets on the micro and macro level in order to provide students with a comprehensive and quality educational experience. 


Grand Valley is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), having undergone another successful comprehensive evaluation in November 2018. The HLC is a regional accreditation agency that accredits degree granting institutions of higher education that are based in a 19-state region of the United States. Institutions that the HLC accredits are evaluated against the Criteria for Accreditation, a set of standards that institutions must meet to receive and/or maintain accredited status. 

By having and maintaining accreditation status, Grand Valley is displaying a strong commitment to sustaining a high level of accountability and accuracy to students and the community. Institutional accreditation recognizes the overall quality of the organization; it covers all programs, sites, and methods of delivery. 

The HLC requires participating institutions, such as GVSU, to adopt and demonstrate the following values for their campus communities.

1. Focus on student learning

2. Education as a public purpose

3. Education for a diverse, technological, globally connected world

4. A culture of continuous improvement

5. Evidence-based institutional learning and self-presentation

6. Integrity, transparency, and ethical behavior or practice

7. Governance for the well-being of the institution

8. Planning and management of resources to ensure institutional sustainability

9. Mission-centered evaluation

10. Accreditation through peer review 

You can find more information about HLC at hlcommission.org.