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Accreditation FAQ

Who is the HLC and what is accreditation?

The Higher Learning Commission is one of several regional and national organizations that accredits colleges and universities. It is a private educational association, not a government agency.

Accreditation is an important indication for current students, prospective students and the community that a college is operating acceptably.  The U.S. Department of Education describes the accreditation process like this: “Accrediting agencies . . . develop evaluation criteria and conduct peer evaluations to assess whether . . . those criteria are met. Institutions and/or programs that request an agency's evaluation and that meet an agency’s criteria are then ‘accredited’ by that agency.”

What is Pima’s current accreditation status?

Pima is currently “On Notice”. 

“On Notice” is one of several sanctions that the HLC can apply to the colleges and schools it accredits.

Notice means that the College is in compliance with the HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation, but remains at risk of being out of compliance with the Criteria for Accreditation and the Core Components. . (For more information, consult the HLC’s Special Conditions webpage.)

What happens to a school that loses accreditation?

Colleges without accreditation can no longer issue federal financial aid.  Also, if a College loses accreditation, the College is obliged to take steps to provide for the welfare of enrolled students who have invested their time, energy and money in attending the institution.

Will “On Notice” status affect financial aid or my ability to transfer?

No. “On Notice” status does not affect PCC's ability to offer financial aid to our students. 

We do not anticipate any change in a student’s ability to transfer courses.  We have received letters from several of the primary universities to which our students transfer assuring that transfer will continue as usual.  View:  UA letter (accessible version) | ASU letter  |  NAU letter (accessible version). In fact, all of the universities would actually like to see more transfer students from PCC and other Arizona community colleges.

Having said that, all of the traditional guidelines for transfer continue to apply, meaning that some courses that haven’t transferred in the past will still not transfer in the future.  For example, someone wishing to transfer a business course into a nursing program will likely not have that course transfer.  We recommend working with a PCC advisor to help insure that you are taking appropriate courses for the degree and university in which you intend to transfer

How is PCC addressing our status?

PCC has been working to address the HLC’s remaining concerns.  In late December 2016, the College received a Draft Feedback Report from the HLC Peer Reviewers reviewing evidence of the College’s progress. The Peer Reviewers have recommend that the College be removed from sanction in 10 of 11 areas, and has recommend that the College remain On Notice for an additional six months as it completes work on the 11th area. This recommendation will be reviewed by the HLC Board of Trustees in February 2017, and a final decision is expected by the College in March.

Where can I send questions about accreditation? 

You can send questions about accreditation to the Provost’s Office through the email.