Accreditation FAQs

1. What is accreditation?

Accreditation is the designation that an institution earns indicating that it functions appropriately with respect to its resources, programs, and services. The accrediting association, often comprised of peers, is recognized as the external monitor. There are four types of officially recognized accrediting agencies in the United States: 1) Regional, 2) National Faith-Related, 3) National Career-Related, and 4) Programmatic. Regional accreditors accredit the entire institution which includes its reported distance education and off campus programs.

2. What is the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)?

SACSCOC is the recognized regional accrediting body in the eleven U.S. Southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia) and Latin America for those institutions of higher education that award associate, baccalaureate, master’s or doctoral degrees. SACSCOC is one of the seven regional accreditation agencies recognized by the U.S. Dept. of Education (USDE) to accredit colleges and universities at the institutional level. 

3. Why is accreditation important?

Accreditation by SACSCOC signifies that a university has:

  • A mission appropriate to higher education,
  • The resources, programs, and services to accomplish and sustain that mission,
  • Clearly specified educational objectives that are consistent with its mission and that are appropriate to the degrees it offers, and
  • Success in achieving its stated objectives.

Maintaining fully accredited status ensures that the university remains in compliance with federal expectations and continues to receive federal Title IV funding.

4. How did Radford University prepare for the SACSCOC reaffirmation?

Radford University prepared a Compliance Certification Report and Quality Enhancement Plan as part of its reaffirmation efforts. The University also responded to any request for additional or clarifying information made by the Off-Site Committee and On-Site Reaffirmation Committee. Radford hosted a group of faculty and staff members from SACSCOC accredited institutions as part of the University’s On-Site Review.

  • Compliance Certification – Radford conducted a thorough self-evaluation to review its success in meeting the standards and requirements in SACSCOC’s The Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement, which is the Commission’s primary source document for the reaffirmation process. Radford included narratives and supporting documentation in its Compliance Certification Report in order to justify its compliance with the standards and requirements. 
  • Quality Enhancement Plan – A Quality Enhancement Plan, or QEP, is a comprehensive, 5-year action plan that targets an issue identified by an institution as important to increasing student learning and/or success. In spring 2021, Radford University sent out a call to faculty and staff for proposals to identify its next QEP. After months of deliberation, the QEP Topic Identification Committee chose the topic of “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” as the next QEP. Beginning in fall 2021, the QEP Development Committee, made up of faculty, staff, and students, began work developing and finalizing the QEP proposal that will be submitted to SACSCOC. The proposal was reviewed during the onsite visit in March 2023. The new QEP implementation began in August 2023.
  • On-Site Review – A group of faculty and staff members from SACSCOC accredited institutions visited Radford’s campus on March 27-30, 2023. The site visit consisted of the On-Site Reaffirmation Committee meeting with the individuals at Radford involved with the QEP and/or the Compliance Certification.

5. How is Radford University evaluated?

The Off-Site and On-Site Reaffirmation Committees, which consist of faculty and staff from other institutions accredited by SACSCOC, evaluate Radford University’s compliance with The Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement, which is the Commission’s primary source document for the reaffirmation process. The Principles of Accreditation contain Core Requirements, Comprehensive Standards, and Federal Requirements with which the institution must comply in order to be reaffirmed. Radford must also abide by SACSCOC’s policies and have an acceptable Quality Enhancement Plan in order to receive accreditation.

6. When did the reaffirmation process take place?

During the 2022-2023 academic year. Radford University's 10-year reaffirmation of accreditation was announced at the SACSCOC annual meetings on Dec. 3, 2023.

7. Who should I contact about Radford University’s SACSCOC Reaffirmation?

Please contact Dr. Jessica Stowell,  SACSCOC Liaison, Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Quality Improvement at