Middle States Commission on Higher Education


Mission, Vision & Core Values



The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is a voluntary, non-governmental, membership association that is dedicated to quality assurance and improvement through accreditation via peer evaluation. Middle States accreditation instills public confidence in institutional mission, goals, performance, and resources through its rigorous accreditation standards and their enforcement.




The Middle States Commission on Higher Education aspires to be the preeminent resource for institutions of higher education striving to achieve excellence in fulfilling their missions. It also intends, through voluntary assessment and adherence to high standards for student learning outcomes and operational behavior, to assure higher education’s publics that its accredited institutions are fulfilling their stated purposes and addressing the publics’ expectations.

Core Values


The MSCHE is guided by these Core Values:

  • Voluntary membership

  • Self-regulation and peer-review

  • A continuous and seamless relationship with member institutions to promote continuous self-evaluation and institutional improvement

  • Respect for the unique mission of each institution and evaluation within that context

  • Student learning and effective teaching

  • Transparency about the accreditation processes and the status held by each member institution

  • Commitment to the principles of cooperation, flexibility, and openness

  • Responsiveness to the needs of the higher education community and societal changes

  • Consideration of societal and institutional needs through attention to and emphasis on both improvement and compliance

  • Responsiveness to a diverse, dynamic, global higher education community that is continually evolving

Strategic Plan


The future of voluntary regional accreditation has dominated the literature and debates of higher education during the past few years, and it will continue to be the focus of attention in our profession. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education remains committed for the future to its long-standing dual mission: serving as a resource for services to our members while ensuring that they meet accreditation standards.

In June 2009 the Commission endorsed its Strategic Plan through 2012. As part of its strategic planning process, the Commission conducted its own self-study and held eight open-dialogue meetings with member institutions throughout the region. The self-study focused on public accountability, ensuring rigorous and appropriate standards and processes, providing training for institutions and volunteer peer evaluators, and the Commission's organizational structure and operations.

At the regional outreach meetings, 375 participants representing 216 institutions discussed demands by the public and the government for accountability and transparency, the Commission's own expectations, and the needs and other issues that members have raised. Participants recognized the need for more Commission staff, for internal re-organization of key functions, and for higher dues to support new services.

Based on these activities, the Commission's Executive Committee defined, and the full Commission endorsed, three priority areas of focus: Accreditation Services, Member Services, and the U.S. Department of Education/Higher Education Opportunity Act Compliance.

After conducting these activities and SWOT analysis, the Commission evaluated nine goals and 29 initiatives based on Strategic Fit, Member Benefit, Organizational Feasibility, and Project Complexity, and prioritized those with the highest combined Member Benefit and Strategic Fit. The plan is being implemented as resources allow.

Click here to view the MSCHE Strategic Plan.


For an explanation of how the Commission on Higher Education relates to the Middle States Association and how it governs itself, see the FAQ "About the Middle States Association and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education."