New Mexico Highlands University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), 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, encompassing 19 states. Accreditation is 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.
HLC’s mission is to ensure and advance the quality of higher learning. It is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. The institutions HLC accredits include public, private not-for-profit, and proprietary institutions at degree levels from the associate through the doctoral degree level and from small, specialized institutions through large research universities.
On August 31, 2016, the HLC noted that Highlands has been placed on probation because the HLC Board determined that the University was out of compliance with some of HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation. The Board took this action because of a number of concerns related to staffing and institutional support, assessment, retention and completion rates, governance, and institutional planning.
Probation is a public status signifying that an accredited institution is no longer in compliance with one or more of HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation. The period of probation is not more than two years from the date that the Board placed the institution on probation. During the probation period, the institution remains accredited and has the opportunity to remedy the concerns noted.
The University is required to file an Assurance Filing no later than November 1, 2017 providing evidence that the University has resolved the concerns of the Board identified in the probation action and evidence that it meets the Criteria for Accreditation. The University will be required to host a comprehensive evaluation no later than December 2017 to demonstrate the concerns of the Board identified in its action have been resolved and the Criteria for Accreditation have been met.
At its meeting in June 2018, the Board will review materials related to this evaluation and determine whether the University can be removed from probation.
In most cases, because institutions on probation remain accredited, other institutions of higher education will continue to accept the institution’s credits in transfer or for admission to a program at a higher degree level. However, students enrolled at an institution on probation and interested in pursuing a higher degree or transferring should contact any institution they plan to attend in the future to confirm the institution’s admission and transfer policies.
About the Higher Learning Commission
The Higher Learning Commission accredits approximately 1,000 colleges and universities that have a home base in one of 19 states that stretch from West Virginia to Arizona. HLC is a private, nonprofit regional accrediting agency.
Faculty, staff, students, parents, and others from the general public with questions regarding HLC’s work should contact the Higher Learning Commission by email at email@example.com or by phone at 312-263-0456.
For Highlands specific questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our accreditation website at www.nmhu.edu/hlc.