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WSCUC Accreditation

Santa Clara University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), one of six regional accrediting agencies in the United States. WSCUC serves a diverse membership of public and private higher education institutions primarily in California, Hawaii, and the Pacific. Accreditation serves to assure the educational community, parents, students, employers, policymakers, and the public that the institution meets high standards of quality and effectiveness. Accreditation is necessary for participation in federal (Title IV) and state financial aid programs. It is also important for the acceptance and transfer of college credit, and is a prerequisite for many graduate programs. 

The overriding purpose of accreditation is to ensure that the institution has been rigorously evaluated and that it meets or exceeds the criteria required to maintain accreditation. In addition, the accreditation process is designed to build a culture of evidence, promote a commitment to institutional improvement, validate institutional integrity, and provide feedback that improves the accreditation process itself.

In 2021, WSCUC awarded Santa Clara University a ten-year affirmation of accreditation and established 2030-31 as the time frame to apply for reaffirmation. In addition, the Commision schedule a Special Visit in spring 2024 to address the following topics

  • progress on actions to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion, 
  • identification and communication of appropriate benchmarks and priorities for strategic planning,
  • assessment of co-curricular and graduate programs,
  • clarification of faculty expectations for research, scholarship, creative activity, and service, and
  • improved accessibility and affordability for students, faculty, and staff

In preparation for the special visit, the University drafted a special report to address our progress on these five topics. You can review the entire report here. 


WSCUC Site Visit 

Santa Clara is hosting a remote review with WSCUC team members on April 10-12, 2024. 
In preparation for the visit, you are invited to review the special visit report.   


WSCUC Special Visit Open Forums

As part of the visit, WSCUC has also identified the groups that it would like to meet with during their special visit on April 10-12, 2024.
The WSCUC Visiting Team will also host an open forum for faculty, staff, and students.

Faculty Open Forum: Wednesday, April 10 from 2:00 to 2:45 pm in the Nobili Dining Room

 Staff Open Forum: Thursday, April 11 from 9:30 to 10:15 am in the Executive Conference Room, St. Joseph’s Hall 2nd Floor. 


Another Way to Participate in the WSCUC Review

WSCUC understands that not everyone who may wish to participate can be invited to or attend scheduled remote meetings and has therefore established a confidential email account to give everyone the opportunity to communicate with the team. The email account is created by WSCUC and only authorized WSCUC staff and team members have access to the emails submitted. The emails are not viewed by any representative of the institution.

The email account is created for this review only and will be closed once the interview sessions are completed. Only comments made before or during the review will be considered as part of the review process. Institutional stakeholders are invited to provide comments on issues of academic rigor and consistency, availability of student support services, the accuracy of information provided by the institution, and other matters related to the quality of the educational experience or the operational effectiveness of the institution.

Institutional reports, remote interviews with groups and individuals, and email comments become part of the information collected and reviewed by the team. If the team chooses to include information derived from confidential emails as a part of its findings in the team report, the information will be presented to keep the author’s identity confidential. Please note that team members will not respond individually to comments provided through the confidential email account. However, the input from comments, along with other forms of information, will be considered as the team undertakes its work and develops recommendations to the institution. The team is not able to meet individually with members of the campus community, so please do not use the email account to request private appointments. 

To write to the WSCUC team, please address your email to  

Palm Tree


Understanding WSCUC Standards

Core Commitments 

The WSCUC process begins by calling upon institutions to ground their activities in three Core Commitments. By affirming these Core Commitments and taking ownership of the accreditation process, institutions create learning environments that continuously strive for educational excellence and operational effectiveness in order to serve both students and the public good. 


Standards of Accreditation 

The Standards of Accreditation consist of four broad, holistic statements that reflect widely accepted good practices in higher education. WSCUC institutions are diverse in terms of mission, character, and type. The Standards are broad enough to honor that diversity, respect institutional missions, and support institutional autonomy. At the same time, institutions must demonstrate that they are in substantial compliance with the four Standards and their related 39 Criteria for Review in order to become and remain accredited.


Standard 1: Defining Institutional Purposes and Ensuring Educational Objectives

How and how well the institution defines its purpose and provides processes to ensure integrity and transparency

Standard 2: Achieving Educational Objectives through Core Functions

Addresses teaching and learning programs, processes to ensure effective student learning, such as program review; scholarship and creative activity; student learning and success (student support; co-curricular programs)
Standard 3: Developing and Applying Resources and Organizational Structures to Ensure Quality and Sustainability Faculty and staff hiring practices and policies; fiscal, physical and information resources; organizational structures and decision-making processes
Standard 4: Creating an Organization Committed to Quality Assurance, Institutional Learning, and Improvement Quality assurance processes; availability and use of institutional research; commitment to improvement and evidence-based decision making; strategic planning; anticipating and responding to a changing higher educational environment

Learning and Success

Institutions have clear educational goals and student learning outcomes. Institutions collect, analyze, and interpret valid and reliable evidence of learning as a way of assessing student achievement and success. Institutions support the success of all students and seek to understand and improve student success.

Quality and Improvement 

Institutions have clear educational goals and student learning outcomes. Institutions collect, analyze, and interpret valid and reliable evidence of learning as a way of assessing student achievement and success. Institutions support the success of all students and seek to understand and improve student success

Institutional Integrity, Sustainability, and Accountability

Institutions recognize that the public has entrusted them with the critical responsibilities of upholding the values of higher education and contributing to the public good. They engage in sound business practices, demonstrate institutional integrity, operate in a transparent manner, and adapt to changing conditions.


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