The Higher Learning Commission Peer Review is slated to visit Estrella Mountain Community College Monday, Oct. 25, and Tuesday, Oct. 26, for the final step in a 10-year process to reaffirm the school’s accreditation with the HLC.

EMCC has been accredited by the HLC since 1992, when it opened as a satellite campus for Glendale Community College (GCC) and shared accreditation. EMCC became a stand-alone, separately accredited institution in 1997. Since the first accreditation, EMCC has successfully undergone three comprehensive visits.

“This will be our fourth comprehensive site visit, and we’re excited to get the results,” EMCC President Dr. Rey Rivera said. “The entire EMCC family has worked extremely hard to ensure that we meet the HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation, and we’re expecting a great outcome.”

The HLC, which was founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States, evaluates colleges and universities on five Criteria for Accreditation: mission, integrity, teaching and learning, evaluation and improvement, and resources and planning. 

The 10-year accreditation cycle requires institutions to submit an annual update, which is reviewed by the HLC to monitor organizational health, compliance with certain federal requirements, and identify any changes that may require HLC follow-up. 

In year four, the college must complete an assurance review to ensure it is continuing to meet HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation. During years five to nine, the college must design and undertake a quality initiative project, and during year 10, it must undergo a comprehensive evaluation to ensure it is meeting the Criteria for Accreditation, pursuing institutional improvement, and complying with certain requirements set by the U.S. Department of Education.

“We had an amazing four-year Assurance Argument,” said Librarian Nikol Price, who is on EMCC’s Reaffirmation of Accreditation Steering Team. “We received no reports or follow-ups, and the HLC used it as an example in the annual conference the following year. We’re anticipating a good review.”

EMCC expects to receive the results of the comprehensive evaluation within two months after the Peer Review Team’s visit.