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Our Story

Founded in 1885...

The New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. is the nation’s oldest accrediting association, serving over 1500 public, independent, and international learning communities in the US and worldwide. It is characterized by a commitment to establishing and maintaining high standards for all levels of education. Through the office of the President/CEO, the Association contributes to public policy and conducts research with a variety of national and international groups and develops assessment processes for other educational providers.

Formed as an educational entity in 1885, it received tax exempt status pursuant to 1954 Code section 501(c)(3) or its predecessor Code Section (July 1944, U.S. Department of the Treasury) and was incorporated as New England Association of Schools & Colleges, Inc. (changing the name from “New England Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, Inc.”) under Articles of Amendment, General Laws, Chapter 180, Section 7, of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, filed December 10, 1971.


Charles W. Eliot

Charles W. Eliot, President of Harvard University (1869-1909), was a key spokesperson during the Association’s early years. His leadership from 1885 to 1926 was instrumental to the Association’s growth.

Alice Freeman Palmer

Alice Freeman Palmer, President of Wellesley College (1881-1887, as Alice Freeman), was one of the founding Committee of five members of the Association in 1885.

Helen Magill

Helen Magill, Director of Howard Institute in West Bridgewater, MA, was elected Secretary of the Association in 1885. She was the first woman in the United States to earn a Ph.D. and the first woman to serve as an officer of the Association.

Noah Porter

The topic of the first meeting of the Association was “How Can the Preparatory Schools Cooperate More Effectively with the Colleges?” addressed by Noah Porter, President of Yale College (1871-1886).