HLC operating area
|Predecessor||North Central Association of Colleges and Schools|
|Purpose||Higher education accreditation|
|Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming|
|Board of Directors|
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is an organization tasked with the regional accreditation responsibilities for post-secondary education institutions in the central United States. The Higher Learning Commission oversees the accreditation of degree-granting colleges and universities in nineteen mostly Midwestern and South-Central states, namely Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The headquarters of the organization is based in Chicago, Illinois.
The United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognize the Commission as the assigned regional accrediting organization.   HLC grew out of the higher education division of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). The NCA dissolved in 2014. 
The Higher Learning Commission has five major criteria for accreditation.  They are: (1) Mission, (2) Ethics, (3) Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support, (4) Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement, and (5) Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness.
In 2009, the Office of the Inspector General of the US Department of Education (OIG-ED) criticized the Higher Learning Commission's oversight of for-profit colleges and recommended that the agency consider "limiting, suspending, or terminating the organization's status." 
In 2010, the OIG reaffirmed their recommendation that the department consider sanctions for the HLC. It also critically reviewed the accreditation status of American InterContinental University and the Art Institute of Colorado, two for-profit colleges. 
In 2015, the OIG-ED issued a critical audit on the review process the HLC used while considering colleges’ proposals for competency-based credentials. 
- AdvancED (accrediting agency for primary and secondary schools that evolved from the NCA).
- For-profit higher education in the United States
- Regional accreditation
- "Accreditation in the United States: regional and national institutional accrediting agencies". United States Department of Education. Archived from the original on 2019-02-04. Retrieved 2019-02-04.
- "Regional accrediting organizations 2009-2010". Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Archived from the original on 2009-08-31. Retrieved 2009-11-01.
- "About the Higher Learning Commission". Higher Learning Commission. Archived from the original on 2019-02-04. Retrieved 2019-02-04.
- "Criteria for accreditation" (PDF). Higher Learning Commission (Alpha revision ed.). March 2018. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2019-02-04. Retrieved 2019-02-04.
- Kelderman, Eric (17 December 2009). "Inspector General warns accreditor over online college, raising fears among for-profit institutions". Government. Chronicle of Higher Education. Archived from the original on 2018-10-08. Retrieved 2019-02-04.
- Kelderman, Eric (27 May 2010). "Inspector General keeps the pressure on a regional accreditor". Government. Chronicle of Higher Education. Archived from the original on 2018-10-08. Retrieved 2019-02-04.
- Fain, Paul (5 October 2015). "Caution on competency". Assessment and Accountability. Inside Higher Ed. Archived from the original on 2019-02-04. Retrieved 2019-02-04.
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