Frequently Asked Questions


Why is accreditation important?

Institutional accreditation validates the quality of an institution as a whole and evaluates multiple aspects of an institution, including its academic offerings, governance and administration, mission, finances, and resources. Also, only accredited institutions are allowed by the U.S. Department of Education to disperse federal financial aid to students.

What does HLC's accreditation include?

HLC’s accreditation includes all degree levels as well as onsite and online course delivery. Institutions of higher education in the United States may also seek accreditation through specialized or programmatic accreditation agencies, which accredit programs, departments or schools within a college or university.

Quality Initiative

What is the purpose of NIU's quality initiative?

The principal purpose of the quality initiative is to support all of our students to achieve their academic goals by assessing, improving and modifying approaches in gateway courses to support higher levels of student success. Of particular importance is ensuring success for students from underrepresented populations.

What are the goals of the quality initiative?
  1. Identify and redesign gateway courses with low success rates or high equity gaps.
  2. Assess and deploy support for course transformation or other improvements in the identified courses to enhance student success.
  3. Monitor data from and engage in continuous quality improvement of identified courses to enhance student success in courses and beyond (e.g., retention and graduation).
How is a gateway course defined?

A gateway course is defined at NIU as a course that a student needs to take to advance within a major or is a course required to complete general studies requirements.

How is an equity gap defined?

An equity gap exists when the success rates for students from under-served communities are statistically significantly less than the average success rate in the course.

What criteria were used to identify targeted gateway courses?

Targeted gateway courses are based on following criteria:

  • Gateway courses with DFUW rates of 20% or greater and at least 25 enrolled students in the 2018-2019 and 2020-2021 academic years, and/or
  • Courses with at least a 10% equity gap that impacted at least 10 students in the 2018-2019 and 2020-2021 academic years *NOTE: 2019-2020 omitted due to pandemic anomaly of that academic year

2023-2024 Comprehensive Evaluation

Contact Us

Accreditation, Assessment and Evaluation
Swen Parson 316
DeKalb, IL 60115

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