HLC Grants Continued Accreditation to Loras College

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) reaffirmed Loras College’s accreditation through the 2029-2030 academic year, the maximum time allowed.

The reaffirmation of accreditation signifies to the public that Loras has met widely accepted education standards of quality.  In addition, accreditation allows Loras students access to federal financial aid and ensures the transferability of Loras course credits.

“The higher education accreditation process is an exceedingly important exercise and a very rigorous evaluation that all degree-granting institutions have to fulfill successfully,” Loras College President Jim Collins (’84) said. “While many college and universities are re-accredited, very few receive maximum re-accreditation without the need for additional follow up. I am proud of and grateful to our Board of Regents and campus community for positioning Loras so well these past several years so that we could garner such a unique and inspiring outcome, especially since we had to navigate the review during the pandemic.” 

The re-accreditation process is based on a system of peer review. Approximately 1,600 educators from institutions of higher education serve as peer reviewers and conduct accreditation evaluations for other institutions. Peer reviewers also serve on committees that make up the elements of the accreditation process.

To navigate the re-accreditation process, Loras created an HLC Reaccreditation Steering Committee that consisted of chairperson Sara Glover, Ph.D., Associate Dean of Instruction & Assessment, Brad Cavanagh,  Professor of Social Work, Chris Budzisz, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Politics, Kate McCarthy-Gilmore, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Spanish, Rob Keller, Ph.D., Professor of Mathematics, and Chris Feit, Ph.D. Director of Institutional Research. The committee worked with faculty, staff, and students across campus to draft an Assurance Argument and participate in a comprehensive evaluation.

“Accreditation review requires involvement from the entire community and we are grateful for the many efforts of our faculty and staff who helped prepare for this review over these last few years,” Donna Heald, Loras College Provost, said. “They worked on committees and subcommittees, attended information sessions, and responded promptly to special requests—all of which contributed to our readiness for the review.  We are also deeply grateful to Dr. Sara Glover and the Steering Committee for their leadership and vision that led to a very successful review and the most positive outcome possible for any institution going through an accreditation review process.”

The HLC reaffirmation of accreditation requires colleges to meet five criteria: mission, integrity, teaching and learning – quality, resources & support, teaching and learning – evaluation & improvement, and resources, planning, and institutional effectiveness. The final report from the Peer Review Team affirmed that Loras met all five criteria and numerous sub-criteria.

The Higher Learning Commission is a regional accreditation agency that accredits degree-granting higher education institutions based in the 19-state North Central region of the United States. Institutions that HLC accredits are evaluated against its Criteria for Accreditation, a set of standards that institutions must meet to receive and/or maintain accredited status.

About Loras College
Founded in 1839, Loras College leverages its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s 10 diocesan colleges to deliver challenging, life-changing experiences as part of its residential, Catholic setting. In 2019, Loras was the second-highest ranked Catholic college in the state of Iowa according to College Consensus, the 16th Best Regional College in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report and one of America’s Top 200 Most Loved Colleges/Universities by Forbes Magazine for the third consecutive year. Loras students ranked No. 2 in the world as part of the global Peeptrade Investment Challenge while a second group ranked No. 4. For the 10th consecutive year, Loras Media Studies student-led television station (LCTV) was named the TV Station of the Year by the Iowa College Media Association (ICMA).