The Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) reaffirmed Cal Poly Pomona’s accreditation for 10 years on Feb. 14 after a visit from the WSCUC review team.
During fall 2019, students, faculty and staff were able to participate in the accreditation process by attending open sessions held between Oct. 21-23, 2019. In these sessions, attendees were able to answer questions from the review team.
Being accredited by the WSCUC means that CPP meets the Commission’s Core Commitments and Standards of Accreditation.
The WSCUC has three core commitments that institutions must prove they are striving for in order to be accredited. The first commitment is to student learning and success; the second is to quality and improvement; and the third is to institutional integrity, sustainability and accountability.
Reaffirmation is usually granted for a period of between seven to 10 years, which is the maximum length of time any institution may receive for accreditation. After the 10 years are up, the WSCUC will check that the university is continuing to uphold the standards.
“This speaks to our strengths as a university,” said Laura Massa, associate vice president for Academic Programs and accreditation liaison officer. “Essentially, WSCUC has recognized that we operate with integrity, our decision making is driven by our mission and informed by evidence and that we are deeply committed to student learning and success.”
A benefit of the accreditation is that it will allow the university to offer students federal financial aid. Unaccredited colleges do not qualify for government funding.
The federal Pell Grant, which provides financial aid to 7.2 million students, according to the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, is one of the federal financial aid programs that is provided.
Accreditation is also important because it means that if students want to transfer units from the university, they can do so with ease.
“(The accreditation) gives our degrees value, it allows us to transfer our coursework to other accredited institutions and allows the school access to federal funds used for financial aid purposes, which many students require for academic success,” said Favian Rodriguez, a fourth-year chemistry student.
The reaccreditation has been in the works since spring 2017, with an institutional report written by the Steering Committee.
“The Steering Committee shall identify and support units and departments that address identified concerns, collect and analyze data to measure progress, liaison with the Chancellor’s Office and provide periodic reports to the campus and to the Chancellor’s Office,” states the CPP website.
CPP received the formal notification of accreditation on Feb. 26.
In the letter, the WSCUC scheduled a mid-cycle review to begin May 1, 2025 and a special visit in spring 2023 to address items like diversity and inclusion issues and turnover in key leadership positions.
The successful accreditation of CPP ensures that students are receiving quality education according to the WSCUC standards, and that degrees earned at the university won’t be invalid.
“Reaccreditation is a word thrown around in high school, community college and now here (at) Cal Poly,” said Henry Ly, a third-year music industry studies student. “There’s a sense of security to know that where you attend for schooling can be accredited for delivering a quality education.”
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