Frequently Asked Questions

What is accreditation?

Accreditation is an activity that both assures quality and fosters improvement of an institution through a process of self evaluation and peer review. In contrast to other countries where quality assurance frequently is conducted by large governmental ministries, the U.S. process is independent and peer–based except that accreditation by a government–approved agency is required to obtain federal financial aid.

What is regional accreditation?
The United States has six regional accreditation agencies that accredit all institutions of higher education in their areas. For the New England states and designated overseas areas, the New England Commission of Higher Education, or NECHE (formerly the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, NEASC), undertakes the evaluation of the region’s colleges and universities. This process includes a self–study by the institution, followed by an on–site visit by a visiting team of peer educators, and a subsequent review and decision by NECHE. To learn more about accreditation and the New England Commission of Higher Educationplease visit the NECHE website.

How is Yale evaluated by NECHE?
NECHE evaluates institutions of higher education against nine standards:

  1. Mission and Purposes
  2. Planning and Evaluation
  3. Organization and Governance
  4. The Academic Program
  5. Students
  6. Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship
  7. Institutional Resources
  8. Educational Effectiveness
  9. Integrity, Transparency, and Public Disclosure.

The standards are written to afford institutions the opportunity to be creative, innovative, and collaborative in approaching self–study and engaging in self–examination for purposes of institutional improvement. Although each of the nine standards will be examined thoroughly, the commission’s judgments about accreditation are made about the institution as a whole.

When does reaccreditation take place?
Yale University has been accredited continuously by NECHE since 1929 and is formally evaluated once every 10 years with less comprehensive fifth-year reports in between. To view the most recent reports, please visit the 2009 comprehensive and 2014 fifth-year reports.

Who participates in Yale’s NECHE reaccreditation process?
Reaccreditation is a highly participatory process requiring the work of many and the input of all.

To coordinate each of the 10-year Yale/NECHE reaccreditation projects, an administrative steering committee and individual standard-specific committees are designated to collect information and draft Yale’s responses to the standards for accreditation. Faculty, students, staff, and the broader Yale community are invited to provide feedback and ideas.

What is specialized accreditation?
In addition to the regional accreditation associations that accredit the entire institution, there are many discipline-based associations that accredit specific programs of study, such as law, medicine, nursing, and architecture. In addition to Yale’s NECHE accreditation, many of Yale’s professional schools and some FAS departments and programs participate in accreditation review with more than 25 nationally recognized specialized accrediting agencies.