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Accreditation

Aims Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org), an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. 

Aims received notice of reaffirmation on March 30, 2018. The HLC voted to continue the college’s accreditation. The Statement of Accreditation Status for Aims can be found on the Higher Learning Commission website and this letter serves as the formal notification of the institution's status.

HLC accreditation assures quality by verifying that Aims Community College offers a quality education and adheres to standards set forth for institutions of higher education and is engaged in continuous improvement. In addition, all institutions are required to submit data annually in the Institutional Update, undergo annual monitoring of financial and non-financial indicators, and adhere to HLC policies and practices, including the Assumed Practices and Obligations of Membership.

Peer reviewers trained in HLC’s standards evaluate member institutions' demonstration of whether they meet the Criteria for Accreditation and make recommendations to HLC’s decision-making bodies.

Professional Licensure Programs and Degrees

Some professions (e.g. Nursing, Aviation, EMS, Surg Tech, etc.) require that you obtain licensure or certification beyond your degree in order to hold a position in that field.  Review specific licensure requirements for each state.

Professional Licensure regulations and requirements vary from field to field, and from state to state. Each state and U.S. territory has an authority, be it public or private, that is responsible for overseeing the licensure requirements of the various professions in that state.  

For students considering enrolling in a program that leads to professional licensure, Aims Community College strongly recommends you contact the appropriate department or program to determine the educational requirements and whether or not the education provided at Aims Community College will allow you to sit for the applicable licensing exam. 

Open Pathway Accreditation Option

To maintain accreditation, Aims participates in the Open Pathway, one of two accreditation options with the Higher Learning Commission. Aims previously was accredited on an eight-year cycle through the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) Pathway and made the transition to the Open Pathway in 2018.

The Open Pathway option focuses on quality assurance and institutional improvement on a 10-year cycle. During this time, Aims must submit institutional reviews so HLC can monitor the organization’s health and ensure compliance with federal requirements. 

Aims must fulfill the following in order to receive accreditation once again in 2027-2028:

  • Annual Institutional Updates
  • Year Four Assurance Review: This will be reviewed virtually by HLC to determine that Aims continues to meet the Criteria for Accreditation.
  • Quality Initiative between years five and nine: Aims will choose one major improvement to focus on, and designate as its Quality Initiative.
  • A Comprehensive Evaluation for reaffirmation in year 10

Additionally, because Aims has four separate campuses and many concurrent enrollment locations, the college is required to undergo a multi-location visit every five years. 

Fulfillment of the Criteria for Accreditation

To become accredited, an institution must meet expectations for several core components. 

Meeting the following criteria as part of the Comprehensive Quality Review culminated in 2018 when Aims received re-accreditation.

  1.  Mission: The institution’s mission is clear and articulated publicly. It guides the institution’s operations. The mission of Aims can be found here.
     
  2. Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct The institution acts with integrity. Its conduct is ethical and responsible.
     
  3. Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support  The institution provides high-quality education, wherever and however its offerings are delivered.
     
  4. Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement  The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs, learning environments and support services, and it evaluates their effectiveness for student learning through processes designed to promote continuous improvement.
     
  5. Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness The institution’s resources, structures, and processes are sufficient to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its educational offerings, and respond to future challenges and opportunities.

Program Accreditation at Aims

Many academic programs at Aims are accredited by state or professional agencies.  The chart below lists the accreditation status of specific programs.

Accreditation Status of Aims Academic Programs

Program Purpose of Accreditation Accrediting Agency Current Accreditation Status Program Location
Associate Degree Nursing Program Program approval (SBON) and national accreditation mandated by Colorado State Board of Nursing Colorado State Board of Nursing (SBON) 1560 Broadway, Suite 1350 Denver, CO 80202 Primary phone: (303) 894-2430 Alternate phone: (303) 894-2458 Fax: (303) 894-2821 Email: dora_nursingboard@state.co.us Continued Full Approval Greeley Campus
Associate Degree Nursing Program Program approval (SBON) and national accreditation mandated by Colorado State Board of Nursing Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) 3390 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 1400 Atlanta GA 30326 (404) 975-5000 Continued Full Approval Greeley Campus
Nurse Aide Program Program approval (SBON) mandated by Colorado SBON Colorado State Board of Nursing (SBON) 1560 Broadway, Suite 1350 Denver, CO 80202 Primary phone: (303) 894-2430 Alternate phone: (303) 894-2458 Fax: (303) 894-2821 Email: dora_nursingboard@state.co.us Continued Full Approval Greeley Campus and Fort Lupton Campus (approved separately)
Med Prep Nurse Aide Program - Career Academy Program approval (SBON) mandated by Colorado SBON Colorado State Board of Nursing (SBON) 1560 Broadway, Suite 1350 Denver, CO 80202 Primary phone: (303) 894-2430 Alternate phone: (303) 894-2458 Fax: (303) 894-2821 Email: dora_nursingboard@state.co.us Continued Full Approval Greeley Campus and Fort Lupton Campus (approved separately)
EMS - Paramedic Program accreditation allows graduates to sit for licensure exam Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) 9355 113th St. N, #7709 Seminole, FL 33775 Phone: (727) 210-2350 Fax: (727) 210-2354 Email: mail@caahep.org Accredited Greeley Campus
Surgical Technology Program accreditation allows graduates to sit for licensure exam Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) 9355 113th St. N, #7709 Seminole, FL 33775 Phone: (727) 210-2350 Fax: (727) 210-2354 Email: mail@caahep.org Accredited Greeley Campus
Police (Peace Officers) Academy Program accreditation required by state and allows graduates to sit for certification exams Department of Law Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training Megan A. Dimpsey 1300 Broadway, 9th Floor Denver, CO 80203 Phone: (720) 508-6724 Fax: (866) 858-7486 Web: www.coloradopost.gov Accredited Greeley Campus
Fire Science Program accreditation serves as a voluntary mark of quality International Fire Service Accreditation Congress Degree Assembly IFSAC Administratie Office 1723 West Tyler Avenue Stillwater , OK 74078 Phone: (405) 744-8303 Fax (405) 744-7377 Email: admin@ifsac.org Accredited Greeley Campus
Aviation (Fixed Wing) Program approval required for operation. Part 141 approval serves as a voluntary mark of quality. Our Fixed-Wing flight programs hold an FAA approval to operate as an approved Pilot School under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 141. This is commonly just called a Part 141 flight school and it is managed out of the Denver Flight Standards District Office (FSDO). This is the Denver FAA Office. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Denver FSDO 26805 East 68yh Avenue Suite 200 Denver, CO 80249-6339 Phone: 1-800-8473808 Email: web submissions only Web: https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/field_offices/fsdo/den/ Approved under Part 141 Greeley Campus and Greeley Airport
Air Traffic Controller AT-CTI program approval may allow graduates, selected for work as an Air Traffic Controller, to bypass some portions of FAA-supplied training. Our Air Traffic Control program has been given the designation of an approved Air Traffic-Collegiate Training Initiative school (AT-CTI) by the FAA. FAA Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration 800 Independence Avenue, SW Washington DC 20591 Email: 9-ATO-ATCTI@faa.gov Phone: (202) 267-1203 Web: http://www.faa.gov/go/atcti Approved Greeley Campus
Early Childhood Program Program accreditation serves as a voluntary mark of quality. See Accreditation Status Accreditation is voluntary. Currently in the process of re-accreditation. Greeley Campus
Automotive Service National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) 101 Blue Seal Drive, S.E. Suite 101 Leesburg, VA 20175 Phone: (703) 669-6650 Web: www.natef.org Certified; Re-accreditation is in process. Currently paused due to Covid-19. When site visits resume, re-accreditation will move forward. Windsor

Accreditation Frequently Asked Questions

Accreditation is a peer review of the quality of an educational institution, college, school or program. Accrediting agencies are private educational associations, and each agency sets its own quality standards. Recognized accrediting associations, such as the Higher Learning Commission, are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as meeting the standards set forth by the DOE. 

Higher education institutions in the United States seek accreditation through two types of accreditation agencies: institutional (classified as regional and national) and specialized. 

Accreditation is an indication of quality. Students, parents and governments rely on accreditation to determine if an institution or program provides students with a quality education.

Accreditation is one of the main ways the federal government assures quality in higher education for all students, especially those who benefit from federal financial aid programs. For example, accreditation is required for Aims Community College to provide federal financial aid to students. 

Program accreditation or approval may also be required to enable graduates to sit for licensure/certification tests.

An institutional accrediting body examines the institution of higher education as a whole. Institutional accreditors are either regional or national accreditors.

Regional accreditation is a peer-review process used to determine the quality of education at an institution within a geographic region. The regional accrediting bodies accredit approximately 3,000 higher education institutions and are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. There are currently seven regional accrediting bodies. All degree-granting institutions incorporated in Colorado, including Aims Community College, seek accreditation approval from the Higher Learning Commission.

National accreditation is not generally based on geographic location, but rather is faith-related or career-related. Not all national accreditors are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

 

A programmatic accrediting body examines a particular program within an institution of higher education. There are many programmatic accrediting bodies and it is important to research which programmatic accreditation is applicable to your particular area of study. This video from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation provides an overview of the differences in the types of accreditations.

Past Accreditation Information (Formerly on the AQIP Pathway)

Before transitioning to the Open Pathway Accreditation option, Aims was accredited by the HLC under the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP). The following include information about the AQIP accreditation process as well as past documents regarding accreditation under that framework.

  • Systems Portfolio (submitted every four years) This 100-page public document describes and analyzes fundamental institutional systems centered around six AQIP categories. See the 2008 and 2012 portfolios.
  • Systems Appraisal (submitted every four years) Submission of the systems portfolio initiates an appraisal conducted by a panel of trained reviewers. Through both independent and consensus review processes, feedback represents shared views of institutional strengths and opportunities for improvement.
  • Strategy Forum A few months after receipt of the Systems Appraisal, AQIP institutions send teams to participate in a strategy forum, at which the team receives guidance on developing new action projects and participates in peer review of initiatives for continuous improvement.
  • Comprehensive Quality Review (CQR) (every eight years) The purpose of this visit is to assure accreditation issues have been addressed, to spot-check the accuracy of the systems portfolio and to affirm the institution's commitment to quality improvement. See the most recent report from 2009.
  • Reaffirmation of Accreditation - Following the comprehensive quality review, an AQIP Pathway Review Panel of Reaffirmation will review the college’s record of activity and determine whether the institution meets HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation and complies with Federal Regulations. See the 2011 Reaffirmation of Accreditation.