Higher Learning Commission Accreditation
Nicolet College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The HLC is an institutional accreditation agency that accredits degree-granting colleges and universities that are based in the United States. The HLC is recognized by The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
2023-2025 Comprehensive Evaluation
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. HLC evaluates institutions against its criteria for accreditation that reflect a set of guiding values. HLC's accreditation includes all degree levels as well as onsite and online course delivery.
Nicolet College has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1975. HLC is one of the seven regional accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The college's last comprehensive evaluation occurred in 2015 and validated the college's quality and integrity of academics, research, administration, faculty, staff, resources, facilities and procedures. The university was reaccredited by HLC for 10 years (until 2025), the maximum period possible.
Reaffirmation of Accreditation
To reaffirm accreditation, Nicolet College is following the open pathway, which is one of two options that an institution has for maintaining accreditation with HLC. The open pathway 10-year cycle is focused on quality assurance and institutional improvement. In the final year of the cycle, the institution undergoes a comprehensive evaluation to ensure that it is meeting the criteria for accreditation, pursuing institutional improvement, and complying with certain requirements set by the U.S. Department of Education.
As part of the assurance review, the institution submits an assurance argument, along with materials of evidence (called an evidence file), to demonstrate that it is in compliance with HLC’s criteria for accreditation. The team of peer reviewers conducting the comprehensive evaluation reviews these materials in preparation for an on-site visit.
Federal Compliance Review
A federal compliance review is conducted as part of a comprehensive evaluation. Institutions must submit a federal compliance filing demonstrating that they are meeting their title IV program responsibility, as well as complying with the expectations of specific regulations set by the U.S. Department of Education. Compliance with these federal requirements is necessary for the institutions to be eligible for federal financial aid. HLC is required to conduct this review as a federally recognized accrediting agency.
Student Opinion Survey
HLC conducts an online survey of the institution’s student body two months prior to the on-site peer review visit. The survey is intended to give students an opportunity to participate in the evaluation process, and to help identify questions for the peer reviewers to ask while on site.
On-Site Peer Review Visit
On-site visits occur after the peer review team has reviewed the institutional report and student survey results. The team works with the institution to create the agenda for the visit, which typically includes meetings with the institution’s leadership and board, as well as open forums with faculty, staff and students. Visits typically last 1 1/2 days. The team will remain in the area for an additional day of deliberations after the visit.
A multi-campus visit (PDF) is included as part of the comprehensive evaluation for institutions on the standard or open pathways or seeking candidacy or initial accreditation that have one or more branch campuses. Peer reviewers will visit a sampling of the institution’s branch campuses and inform the team conducting the comprehensive evaluation as to the quality of the branch campuses.
Visit the HLC website to learn more about the comprehensive evaluation process.