Accreditation

South Seattle College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). The NWCCU is the institutional accrediting agency for colleges and universities in the states of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities is recognized as a reliable authority on regional, institutional accreditation by the United States Department of Education.

Accreditation of an institution of higher education by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities indicates that it meets or exceeds criteria for the assessment of institutional quality evaluated through a peer review process. An accredited college or university is one which has available the necessary resources to achieve its stated purposes through appropriate educational programs, is substantially doing so, and gives reasonable evidence that it will continue to do so in the foreseeable future.

Accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities is not partial but applies to the institution as a whole. As such, it is not a guarantee of every course or program offered, or the competence of individual graduates. Rather, it provides reasonable assurance about the quality of opportunities available to students who attend the institution.

Inquiries regarding an institution’s accredited status by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities should be directed to the administrative staff of the institution. Individuals may also contact:

Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
8060 165th Avenue N.E., Suite 100
Redmond, WA 98052-3981
(425) 558-4224
www.nwccu.org

Overview

South Seattle College has been accredited since our initial review in 1975.  South’s last full NWCCU review and visit was in April 2019.  As a result of that review and visit, in July 2019, South Seattle College received formal notification from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) that the college’s accreditation was reaffirmed. 

In 2010, the NWCCU Board of Governors approved a major revision to the accreditation standards that included a reduction of the review process from a ten year to a seven year evaluation cycle. As part of the new seven year process, a NWCCU team of nine people in higher education, drawn from peer institutions, visited South on April 24th -26th, 2019 to conduct the Year Seven Mission Fulfillment and Sustainability evaluation visit designed to review and evaluate the college’s major institutional functions, resources, and infrastructure to enable a determination of the institution’s potential to succeed in fulfilling its mission and sustainability. In its preliminary report at the end of the visit the team left South with five potential commendations for accomplishments and four potential recommendations for improvements, which later became part of the NWCCU final report. 

Commendations

  1. The development of Guided Pathways.
  2. Its innovation and adaptability in the context of unpredictable and limited resources.
  3. Creating a pervasive climate that prioritizes and promotes student success.
  4. Its comprehensive and integrated approaches to diversity, equity and inclusion, such as use of and commitment to Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) and Inclusion Advocates, which are achieving demonstrable successes.

Recommendations

  1. The Evaluation Committee recommends that South Seattle College continues to refine indicators of achievement (e.g., KPI’s) to ensure they are aligned, relevant, and meaningful, and that they map closely to the institution’s mission, goals, and objectives (Standard 1.A.2, Standard 1.B.2).  
  2. The Evaluation Committee recommends that South Seattle College identify and publish expected course, program, and degree learning outcomes for all degrees and programs (Standard 2.C.2).  
  3. The Evaluation Committee recommends that South Seattle College regularly reviews and documents assessment of course, program, and degree student learning outcomes (including general education learning outcomes), and ensures that the results of assessments are used to inform planning and practices that enhance and improve student learning. (Standard 4.A.3, 4.B.2).  
  4. The Evaluation Committee recognizes progress made to review Human Resources policies and procedures since the 2013 NWCCU visit.  However, the evaluation committee strongly recommends that the institution and district develop and implement a plan for systematic review of all policies (Standard 2.A.6. and Standard 2.A.18).  
  5. The evaluation committee recommends that for each year of operation, the institution complete an external financial audit and the results from such audits, including findings and management letter of recommendations, be considered in a timely, appropriate, and comprehensive manner by the Board of Trustees (Eligibility Requirement 19 and Standard 2.F.7). 

In reaffirming accreditation, the Commission requested that the College address Recommendations 3 and 5 of the Spring 2019 Year Seven Mission Fulfillment and Sustainability Peer-Evaluation Report through an Ad Hoc report without a visit during Fall 2020.  The letter from the Commission also included a request that the College address Recommendation 1,2, and 4 during the Spring 2022 Mid-Cycle Self-Evaluation Report with an addendum

The college has already begun to address the five recommendations and will continue to make the necessary changes.

View South Seattle College's 2019 Mission Fullfillment Report (pdf)

View NWCCU's 2019 Reaffirmation Notification.