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Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the SACSCOC accreditation?

In order to award degrees/certificates and to be eligible to receive student financial aid and participate in other federal programs, institutions in the U.S. must be accredited by one of six regional accrediting bodies. Institutions in Texas are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). This peer-review accreditation process involves a self-study, off-site review, as well as an on-site visit. As stated by SACSCOC, “The process provides an assessment of an institution’s effectiveness in the fulfillment of its mission, its compliance with the requirements of its accrediting association, and its continuing efforts to enhance the quality of student learning and its programs and services.”

Why is it important to UTSA?

Accreditation is important to UTSA because it is important to the success of our students. Without recognized regional accreditation, our students cannot earn valid degrees/certificates and therefore cannot be successful. Additionally, SACSCOC contends that the purposes are to 1) improve quality throughout the institution, 2) assure the public that institutions meet established standards, and 3) enable institutions to provide financial aid. All of these items are needed for student success. We are constantly striving to provide excellent educational experiences that support and promote the value of higher education. Additionally, we must be able to support our students financially and accreditation is key to this.

What is the process for reaccreditation?

After institutions receive initial accreditation through SACSCOC, they are reevaluated every ten years for “Reaffirmation of Accreditation.” In this process, each institution addresses about 100 Principles of Accreditation covering topics such as governance and administration, finances, faculty, student services, educational programs, and policy compliance. Based on these principles, a self-study called the Compliance Certification Report is submitted for review. The report includes detailed narratives of our programs, services, and processes, as well as documentation and data to support our claims. An off-site team of fellow higher education professionals reviews that report and provides feedback. Then, the institution responds to that feedback and prepares for an on-site review. A separate team of peer reviewers visits the campus to make their final assessment. The last step in the process is the review by the SACSCOC Board of Trustees.

How long does it take and why?

For UTSA, we will submit our Compliance Certification Report in September 2019. Our on-site review will take place in the spring of 2020. Then, the Board of Trustees for SACSCOC will make decisions regarding our reaffirmation in December 2020. The process is somewhat lengthy due to the comprehensive nature of the review, as well as the number of institutions within the region (over 800). We are beginning our process now with what we are calling Racing to Reaccreditation 2020. It will take a while to review all the principles and determine our compliance or areas for improvement, so a team of about 40 individuals across UTSA is already beginning to work on this.

What’s UTSA’s history with accreditation?

UTSA has been continuously accredited through SACSCOC since 1974. Our last decennial review was in 2010 (approval date January 7, 2011). Additionally, institutions must now complete a fifth-year interim report covering about 20 principles. For UTSA, that review took place in 2015, and our next decennial review will take place in 2020. UTSA has been very successful in past reviews. In 2010, we were required to follow up with additional information for two standards. In 2015, we were asked to follow up with additional information for one standard.

What’s the benefit to UTSA when we complete reaccreditation?

Accreditation is all about continuous improvement of the university and its processes in order to support students in achieving academic excellence. Through the process of accreditation, we have the chance to evaluate our programs and services. If we are successful in improving our processes and procedures, then students will benefit. In addition, UTSA will continue to have degree-granting authority and access to federal programs including student aid. Everyone at UTSA has a role in this process, and everyone will be able to celebrate in the outcome. If we collaborate together in this race focusing on the finish line of excellence and student success, then we will be successful in meeting our accreditation standards, as well. The green light is on. Let’s get ready to speed to success!