Middle States Accreditation

What is accreditation and why is it important?

The Federal law mandates that to be eligible for federal funds (including student financial aid), all institutions of higher education must receive ongoing accreditation by a recognized regional body. The Community College of Philadelphia falls under the jurisdiction of the Middle States Commission of Higher Education (MSCHE). Every 8 years, the College is expected to conduct a substantial self-study, in which it must rigorously and honestly examine all areas of its operations to show how it meets the MSCHE standards.
Middle States established equitable standards and seeks to promote educational excellence through innovation across diverse institutions. The 7 standards which can be found at https://www.msche.org/standards/ are as follows:

  • Standard 1: Mission and goals;
  • Standard 2: Ethics and integrity;
  • Standard 3: Design and delivery of the student learning experience;
  • Standard 4: Support of the student experience;
  • Standard 5: Educational effectiveness assessment;
  • Standard 6: Planning, resources and institutional improvement;
  • Standard 7: Governance, leadership and administration.

MSCHE is a private, independent, non-governmental organization that is responsible for more than 525 accredited institutions located in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and some locations abroad. MSCHE examines institutions as a whole, rather than individual programs within institutions. While we have several programs within our college that are accredited by specific accrediting bodies, Community College of Philadelphia, as a whole, is accredited by MSCHE.

What does it mean to be accredited by MSCHE? 

Institutions who are accredited by MSCHE must be able to meet the Commission’s Requirements of Affiliation and demonstrate ability to comply with its Standards for Accreditation. They must also comply with all policies, procedures, and guidelines. Through accreditation, MSCHE mandates that institutions meet rigorous standards. 

Institutions must also demonstrate compliance with federal regulations developed by the U.S. Department of Education. CCP must complete an Institutional Federal Compliance Report and provide the Commission with verification that the College is compliant in the following areas: 

  1. Student identity verification in distance and correspondence education 
  2. Transfer of credit policies and articulation agreements 
  3. Title IV program responsibilities 
  4. Institutional records of student complaints 
  5. Required information for students and the public 
  6. Standing with State and other accrediting agencies 
  7. Contractual relationships 
  8. Assignment of credit hours 

What is involved during the accreditation process? 

  • Annual Institutional Update (AIU) is a way that MSCHE uses to monitor institutions of higher education. Colleges are required to provide key data indicators, annually, on enrollment, finances, significant changes and measures of student achievement.  
  • Self-Study Design serves as a blueprint for the self-study process. CCP’s Self-Study Design was submitted to MSCHE in April, 2021. We received a commendation for the Self-Study Design and it will be used as a resource tool for other institutions going through the accreditation process. 
  • A Self-Study Report is compiled and written by a diverse team of campus community members. The Self-Study Report is a detailed written document that demonstrates how CCP is meeting the Requirements of Affiliation  and Standards of Accreditation.  
  • The Self-Study is developed from a Steering Committee, who oversee the self-study process. Members of 7 Working Groups, collect evidence and prepare a written report detailing how the college is meeting the standard (s) they have been assigned. CCP’s team can be found here.  
  • The draft Self-Study document is then edited by CCP’s Middle States co-chairs and the evidence and narrative report are then finalized for submission to the Commission. This report is uploaded to a Middle States portal, from where the visiting team will retrieve the documents, prior to our scheduled site visit.  
  • A Middle States Visiting Team will visit CCP, in-person on March 19 -22, 2023. The visiting team are peer evaluators, made up of professionals from similar institutions. The team visits the campus to assess the College and engage with campus community members. The team wants to ensure that CCP is compliant with MSCHE requirements and standards, and most importantly, effectively serving our students. During the site visit, the peer evaluators will meet with various groups and/or individuals including: administrators, faculty, staff, students, members of the Board of Trustees both formally and at times informally (in the hallways, walking across campus and stopping to talk to students and staff, etc).  

Please feel free to contact the co-chairs with any questions or feedback at MSCHEselfstudy@ccp.edu or dliautaudwatkins@ccp.edu

Middle States Self-Study Design: Community College of Philadelphia's April 2021 Middle States Self-Study Design

CCP's Accreditation History