Purdue University Northwest is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Each accredited institution in good standing with HLC reaffirms and maintains its accredited status by participating in evaluation processes that:

  1. Document that it meets HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation and the Federal Compliance Requirements
  2. Demonstrate a focus on institutional improvement
  3. Fulfill HLC’s procedural requirements for reaffirming and maintaining accreditation

See the HLC Reaffirmation Action Letter

Open Pathway

PNW participates in the Open Pathway model of accreditation, one of two options institutions have for maintaining their accreditation with HLC. It follows a 10-year cycle and, like the Standard Pathway, is focused on quality assurance and institutional improvement. The Open Pathway is unique in that its improvement component, the Quality Initiative, affords institutions the opportunity to pursue improvement projects that meet their current needs and aspirations.

Quality Initiative

An institution on the Open Pathway conducts a Quality Initiative after year four and prior to year 10 of its reaffirmation cycle through which it demonstrates an ongoing commitment to improving its quality. The institution selects a topic for the initiative that is reviewed and approved by a panel of HLC Peer Reviewers. The institution compiles a report explaining the results of the initiative submits it to the HLC for review no later than year nine of its reaffirmation cycle.

PNW participated in its last comprehensive visit for its Reaffirmation of Accreditation in the Spring of 2021, and its accreditation now continues through 2030-31.

Criteria for Accreditation

The Open Pathway ensures that institutions are in compliance with the five Criteria for Accreditation:

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

  • 1.A. The institution’s mission is articulated publicly and operationalized throughout the institution.
  • 1.B. The institution’s mission demonstrates commitment to the public good.
  • 1.C. The institution provides opportunities for civic engagement in a diverse, multicultural society and globally connected world, as appropriate within its mission and for the constituencies it serves.

The institution acts with integrity; its conduct is ethical and responsible.

  • 2.A. The institution establishes and follows policies and processes to ensure fair and ethical behavior on the part of its governing board, administration, faculty and staff.
  • 2.B. The institution presents itself clearly and completely to its students and to the public.
  • 2.C. The governing board of the institution is autonomous to make decisions in the best interest of the institution in compliance with board policies and to ensure the institution’s integrity.
  • 2.D. The institution is committed to academic freedom and freedom of expression in the pursuit of truth in teaching and learning.
  • 2.E. The institution’s policies and procedures call for responsible acquisition, discovery and application of knowledge by its faculty, staff and students.

The institution provides high quality education, wherever and however its offerings are delivered.

  • 3.A. The rigor of the institution’s academic offerings is appropriate to higher education.
  • 3.B. The institution offers programs that engage students in collecting, analyzing and communicating information; in mastering modes of intellectual inquiry or creative work; and in developing skills adaptable to changing environments.
  • 3.C. The institution has the faculty and staff needed for effective, high-quality programs and student services.
  • 3.D. The institution provides support for student learning and resources for effective teaching.

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.

  • 4.A. The institution ensures the quality of its educational offerings.
  • 4.B. The institution engages in ongoing assessment of student learning as part of its commitment to the educational outcomes of its students.
  • 4.C. The institution pursues educational improvement through goals and strategies that improve retention, persistence and completion rates in its degree and certificate programs.

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. The institution plans for the future.

  • 5.A. Through its administrative structures and collaborative processes, the institution’s leadership demonstrates that it is effective and enables the institution to fulfill its mission.
  • 5.B. The institution’s resource base supports its educational offerings and its plans for maintaining and strengthening their quality in the future.
  • 5.C. The institution engages in systematic and integrated planning and improvement.

Voicing Accreditation Concerns

The Higher Learning Commission provides stakeholders a method to voice concerns. The HLC has established a clear distinction between individual grievances and complaints that appear to involve broad institutional practices. To submit a complaint that raises issues regarding the institution’s ongoing ability to meet the Criteria of Accreditation, please visit the Higher Learning Commission website.


Purdue University Northwest is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).