The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) is one of six regional accreditation associations covering the United States whose purposes are: the continual improvement of education and cooperation among educational institutions and agencies, the certification of accreditation or candidacy status, and the promotion of effective working relationships with other educational organizations and accrediting agencies. WASC evaluates and accredits schools, colleges, and universities in California, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau. WASC functions through a Board of Directors and three accrediting Commissions: the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), and the Accrediting Commission for Schools.
The Board of Directors consists of nine members, each accrediting Commission selecting three members.
Each institution affiliated with the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges accepts the obligation to undergo periodic evaluation through self study and professional peer review. The heart of this obligation is the conducting of a rigorous self study during which an institution appraises itself in terms of its stated purposes. A comprehensive self-study is required every six years following initial accreditation. The Commission's policy on periodic review, found in the "Handbook of Accreditation and Policy Manual, 1996 Edition", governs conditions under which an institution is periodically evaluated. Intended for use with the "Handbook of Accreditation and Policy Manual, 1996 Edition", this Manual provides a reference for the conduct of the comprehensive self study, as well as instructions for the completion and submission of reports to the Commission. Its purpose is to facilitate the process of self study for Colleges as they develop the organization and activities needed to conduct such a self appraisal.
The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges has the responsibility for evaluating and accrediting public
and private institutions of higher education that offer one or more
higher educational programs of two years in length leading to the
associate degree. The Commission accredits public and private institutions
in California and Hawaii, as well as in Guam, American Samoa, the
Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, the Commonwealth
of the Northern Marianas Islands, and the Republic of the Marshall
Islands. The Commission provides counsel and assistance to established
and developing institutions. It strives to protect against encroachments
which might jeopardize educational effectiveness or academic freedom.
The Commission sets standards for accreditation. It provides
guidance to institutions preparing self-study reports, appoints
teams and schedules visits, considers and evaluates the reports
and recommendations of visiting teams, and makes accreditation decisions.
The normal interval for comprehensive visits for ACCJC's member
institutions is six years. The primary purpose of all Commission
activities is to strengthen institutions through self study, peer
evaluation, and appropriate follow-up. The Commission seeks to sustain
the quality and integrity of institutions. In each instance, a college
is judged by how effectively it meets its stated mission and the Commission Standards for Accreditation. The work of the Commission
is accomplished by the Commission staff and the Commission members.