In the United States, institutions of higher education seek accreditation through two types of accreditation agencies, institutional and specialized. Institutional accreditation assures the quality of the whole institution. Specialized (or program) accreditation agencies evaluate particular units, schools or programs within an organization.
The University of St. Thomas has maintained continuous accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1916. HLC is one of six regional institutional accreditators recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Institutional accreditation by the HLC, provides assurance to prospective students and other constituents that course credits and degrees earned from the institution meet quality standards of higher education. In addition, institutional accreditation assures quality by verifying that an institution is engaged in continuous improvement. HLC evaluates each institution on its academic offerings, governance and administration, mission, finances, and resources.
The University of St. Thomas has been approved for the Open Pathway for Reaffirmation of Accreditation. The two components of the Open Pathway are the Assurance Review and the Quality Initiative. The St. Thomas timeline includes an Assurance Review in 2017-18 and a Comprehensive Evaluation (including a site visit) in 2023-24.