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The Higher Ed Connection

The Value of K-12 Accreditation: A Statement by the New England Commission of Higher Education

The six New England states share a long and rich history in education, recognized for excellence around the world. The oldest United States university, public school and independent schools were all founded in New England. Over the centuries, the deep foundations of New England schools and colleges supported the economic, civic, scientific, artistic and technological life of the region. Accreditation both maintains and enhances this vitality. Through accreditation, institutions hold themselves to high mutual standards, assess their strengths and challenges, undergo regular peer review and constantly aspire to greater achievement.

Thus, the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)* affirms the significant value of accreditation at all levels of education.

The K-12 Commissions of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) – the Commission on Public Schools, the Commission on Independent Schools, and the Commission on International Education – carry out accreditation at the primary, elementary, and secondary levels in New England and around the world.

The work of these three Commissions mirrors our work in higher education by:

  • Providing institutional accountability that is research based, peer-reviewed, continuously monitored and both voluntary and comprehensive
     
  • Ensuring substantial compliance with established qualitative standards regularly reviewed by their membership
     
  • Offering candid, objective and comprehensive evaluations carried out with the utmost integrity, commitment and discretion
     
  • Respecting differences in institutional mission, populations and cultures
     
  • Engaging an entire educational community in structured analysis, self-reflection, review and planning
     
  • Offering specific commendations and recommendations to drive improvement within each educational community

In both the United States and abroad, these three Commissions promote educational quality and accountability.

NECHE understands that institutions of higher education, in selecting students for admission, consider a variety of student, school and community factors. NECHE affirms that post-secondary institutions recognize that a school’s accreditation through one of the three NEASC Commissions demonstrates its commitment to high standards, rigorous review and ongoing accountability. NEASC accreditation merits strong consideration in the admissions decision.

*formerly the NEASC Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE)

NEASC + NECHE: separate organizations, common goals

In late 2018, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) completed a corporate restructuring to align with the US Department of Education’s requirement that our higher education commission (CIHE) operate as a “separate and independent” entity. CIHE now operates as the New England Commission of Higher Education, Inc. (NECHE) and we continue to operate as NEASC. Complying with this legal requirement ensures that NECHE will remain the gatekeeper for access to federal financial aid by students of New England’s colleges and universities.

Our NECHE colleagues will continue to be located within the NEASC suite of offices and share resources with the three NEASC Commissions. The restructuring has been seamless and will enable both entities to pursue their unique missions as well as to collaborate across the K-16 continuum in ways that serve the interests of our entire membership. NEASC remains committed to working closely with our higher education colleagues to explore opportunities to enhance the value of accreditation in supporting the educational success and college readiness of our students.