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Higher Learning Commission Open Pathway Cycle

The University of South Dakota is accredited through the Higher Learning Commission’s Open Pathway 10-Year Cycle, an ongoing process that consists of an Assurance Review, a Quality Initiative, and a Comprehensive Evaluation. This process is designed to help USD ensure it is meeting its mission, vision and values.

Learn About Accreditation from an Informative Video

The next Comprehensive Evaluation, which will reaffirm our accreditation, is scheduled for September 14-15 2020.

Quality Initiative

As part of the 10 year cycle, Open Pathway institutions must complete a Quality Initiative. This process is designed to help institutions develop or continue a project to achieve a key milestone. The process can also be used to implement a specific project related to institutional improvement. The quality initiative occurs in years five through nine of the cycle and culminates in a report to the HLC. 

Assurance Reviews and Comprehensive Evaluations

HLC conducts assurance reviews in year four of the cycle and comprehensive evaluations in year ten of the cycle in order to confirm that the institution meets the five criteria for accreditation:

1. Mission
2. Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct
3. Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support
4. Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement
5. Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness

In each of these areas, the institution is expected to engage in a continuous process of evaluation and improvement. The comprehensive evaluation also includes a Federal Compliance Review, which verifies that USD is meeting Federal guidelines and is a good steward of the funds we receive from the Federal government, and a Student Survey that is provided to elicit feedback from students about their experience on campus.

Contact the USD Reaffirmation Team

USD is set for a Comprehensive Evaluation for Reaffirmation of Accreditation Sept. 14-15, 2020. If you have any questions, you may contact the USD Reaffirmation team by emailing us at .