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Accreditation is a process by which an institution publicly affirms and continuously improves educational quality and effectiveness.  To become and remain accredited, an institution must undergo regular comprehensive evaluation, using a combination of evidence-based reporting and external peer review by other higher education professionals.

Institutional Accreditation Schedule

KBOCC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), one of six accrediting organizations recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, and which accredits approximately 1,000 colleges and universities, including more than 75% of the 37 Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs).  The purpose of accreditation is to ensure that the education provided by KBOCC meets acceptable levels of quality.

KBOCC is on the Standard Pathway to accreditation with HLC, an established a 10-year cycle for the various components of the accreditation process. The cycle begins in the year immediately following an institution’s reaffirmation of accreditation. KBOCC’s most recent reaffirmation occurred in 2016-17, culminating in HLC’s action to continue the college’s accreditation effective July 1, 2017, and the most recent comprehensive evaluation (Year 4) occurred in 2020-21.  The next comprehensive evaluation (Year 10) will occur during the 2026-27 academic year. 

KBOCC’s Accreditation Cycle

To maintain accreditation, there is substantial communication between an institution and HLC in between comprehensive evaluations, including notification and approvals of substantive changes, annual submission of the Institutional Update survey on organizational health, and possible additional monitoring.


HLC’s accreditation process requires an institution to provide evidence at regular intervals (Years 4 and 10 of the Standard Pathway) demonstrating that it meets the below specific criteria for academic quality, institutional effectiveness, and fiscal stability. That evidence is reviewed by an external peer review team of higher education professionals, whose findings are provided both to the accrediting agency and to the institution.

Criterion 1. Mission: The institution’s mission is clear and articulated publicly; it guides the institution’s operations.

Criterion 2. Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct. The institution acts with integrity; its conduct is ethical and responsible.

Criterion 3. Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support: The institution provides quality education, wherever and however its offerings are delivered.

Criterion 4. Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement: The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs, learning environments, and support services, and it evaluates their effectiveness for student learning through processes designed to promote continuous improvement.

Criterion 5. Institutional Effectiveness, Resources and Planning: The institution’s resources, structures, and processes are sufficient to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its educational offerings, and respond to future challenges and opportunities.

HLC Criteria for Accreditation

Accreditation Review

KBOCC’s most recent accreditation review was it’s mid-cycle (year 4) “Assurance Review” during the 2020-21 academic year. The purpose of the review was to assure quality higher education and continual compliance with HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation. The College submitted its accreditation narrative and supporting evidence as part of its Assurance Argument to the HLC in Fall 2020. A team of higher educational professionals conducted a peer review of these materials and determined that KBOCC continues to meet HLC’s accreditation criteria. HLC accepted the peer review team’s report and recommended a monitoring report be submitted on program review due to HLC in January 2023. The College submitted its Interim Monitoring Report on the subject of program review to HLC on January 30, 2023, which was accepted by HLC with no follow-up reports or other corrective institutional actions required prior to the next comprehensive evaluation for reaffirmation of accreditation in 2026-27.

KBOCC Assurance Argument – July 2020

Interim Monitoring Report on Program Review – January 2023

Specialized/Programmatic Accreditation

In additional to institutional accreditation, some programs may undergo evaluation by specialized and professional accreditors. Currently, KBOCC has no programs with specialized accreditation.