Middle States Commission on Higher Education


Frequently Asked Questions

Does Middle States meet international criteria as a quality assurance organization?

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education, at its June 2003 meeting, determined that it meets the "Principles of Good Practice for an External Quality Assurance Agency", which were developed by the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE). The Principles are available here in PDF.

INQAAHE (http://www.inqaahe.org) was established in 1991 to collect and disseminate information on current and developing theory and practice in the assessment, improvement, and maintenance of quality in higher education. It developed the Principles that are intended to address the growing need for students, employers, and institutions to determine the quality of students and degrees from other countries. They assure the public worldwide that institutions are accredited or licensed by a reputable agency.

The Principles cover such areas as the agency's mission, decision-making processes, resources, documentation, use of external evaluators, information available to the public, appeals system, self-review procedures, and collaboration with other agencies.

INQAAHE does not require compliance with the standards for membership, and there is no mechanism for external determination of compliance. The proposal is a first step towards building consensus for exchanges as well as setting guidelines for newly forming or developing quality assurance agencies.

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has been very supportive of this effort and other international outreach initiatives, including its own pilot project to accredit non-U.S. institutions.