Open Pathway

Institutions on the Open Pathway undergo the following reviews in addition to the regular monitoring that occurs through HLC’s Institutional Update, substantive change requests, interim monitoring and other processes.

Years 1-3

Assurance Argument – A narrative in which the institution explains how it meets HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation, which is supported by linked documents in the Evidence File. [similar to AQIP Systems Portfolio but written to the criteria for accreditation, only.  Does not include the additional six AQIP categories.

Assurance Filing – Created and submitted by the institution, the filing includes the Assurance Argument with embedded links to documents in the Evidence File.

Year 4

Assurance Review – The peer review evaluation of the Assurance Filing.

Years 5-7

Quality Initiative The Open Pathway requires the institution to undertake a major Quality Initiative designed to suit its present concerns or aspirations. The Quality Initiative takes place between years 5 and 9 of the 10-year Open Pathway Cycle. A Quality Initiative may be designed to begin and be completed during this time, or an institution may continue a project that is already in progress or achieve a key milestone in the work of a longer initiative. The Quality Initiative is intended to allow institutions to take risks, aim high and, if so be it, learn from only partial success or even failure.

Years 5-9

Quality Initiative  Institutions design and undertake a Quality Initiative project. HLC peer reviewers approve an initial project proposal, as well as a report on the outcomes of the project. 

Year 10

Comprehensive Evaluation  Institutions undergo a comprehensive evaluation to ensure they are meeting the Criteria for Accreditation, pursuing institutional improvement and complying with certain requirements set by the U.S. Department of Education. This review leads to an action regarding the reaffirmation of the institution’s accreditation. 

Recent Reaccreditation Information (formerly on the AQIP pathway):