The WASC Senior College and University Commission (”the Commission”) is a regional accrediting agency serving a diverse membership of public and private higher education institutions throughout California, Hawaii, and the Pacific as well as a limited number of institutions outside the U.S. Through its work of peer review, based on standards agreed to by the membership, the Commission encourages continuous institutional improvement and assures the membership and its constituencies, including the public, that accredited institutions are fulfilling their missions in service to their students and the public good.
The WASC Senior College and University Commission is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as certifying institutional eligibility for federal funding in a number of programs, including student access to federal financial aid.
2014-15 Strategic Priorities:
1. Provide increasing value to institutions as a partner in the accreditation process.
1.a. Ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of peer review as the foundation of quality assurance
1.b. Improve communications to the membership and external agencies
1.c. Create internal research capacity that supports institutional and Commission efforts and provides information to the public related to the quality of higher education in the region
1.d. Pilot a risk-based approach to accreditation
2. Sharpen the distinctions among, and public understanding of, operations and realms of authority of accreditors and federal and state regulatory bodies.
2.a. Contribute to the public understanding of accreditors' appropriate role
2.b. Contribute to regional accreditors' efforts to clarify accreditors' appropriate role with the federal government
2.c. Contribute to regional efforts to ensure appropriately delineated roles and responsibilities for states.
3. Respond and adapt to the changing ecology of higher education, including heightened concerns with student success and taxpayers' interests.
3.a. Maintain a nimble and responsive national leadership position as a Commission that understands public needs and concerns related to higher education
3.b. Support institutional innovation in response to changing ecology of higher education
3.c. Respond to emerging markets for accreditation services and determine the appropriate balance of regional/international institutions in membership
3.d. Develop advocacy capacity in response to political concerns and demands
The Western Association of Schools and Colleges, (WASC), was formed in 1962 to promote the development of higher education in the Western region when it took over and further formalized the work of its predecessor organization, the Western College Association. WASC was previously incorporated as a single 501c3 entity that encompassed the three commissions (WASC Senior College and University Commission, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges and the Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges).
In 2012-2013 the three Commissions re-incorporated as separate entities that share the same ‘WASC’ acronym but are otherwise separate organizations with independent scopes and governance structures. For more information about the two other agencies share the WASC acronym see Types of Accreditation and Links to Other Accrediting Agencies.