The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) is one of six regional associations which accredit public and private schools, colleges, and universities in the United States. Regional accreditation began about 100 years ago and arose from a desire on the part of educational institutions to establish standards of quality.
Accreditation is a voluntary, non-governmental process which plays an important role in developing and maintaining the high quality of education in this country.
The Western Association is the newest of the six regional accrediting associations. It was formed in 1962 by an amalgamation of several accrediting agencies. There are three Commissions in the Association which work with institutions at different levels.
What does accreditation mean?
Accreditation certifies - to other educational institutions and to the general public - that an institution meets established criteria or standards and is achieving its own stated objectives. WASC and the other five regional associations in the United States grant "institutional accreditation" after a comprehensive self study followed by an on-site evaluation of the programs and services of the total institution. This means that all diploma or degree programs and educational activities offered by the institution are covered by the institution's accreditation.
The evaluation determines whether or not the institution qualifies for regional recognition. More importantly, periodic self-study and review promote improvement in educational quality and institutional effectiveness.
Certification to the public that the school is a trustworthy institution of learning
Validates the integrity of a school’s program and student transcripts
Fosters improvement of the school’s programs and operations to support student learning
Assures a school community that the school’s purposes are appropriate and being accomplished through a viable educational program
A way to manage change through regular assessment, planning, implementing, monitoring and reassessment
Assists a school/district in establishing its priority areas for improvement as a result of the perpetual accreditation cycle that includes:
School self-assessment of the current educational program for students.
Insight and perspective from the visiting committee.
Find out more about WASC Accreditation at their FAQ page