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Virginia Western Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call (404) 679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Virginia Western Community College. Normal inquiries, such as admission requirements, financial aid, educational programs, etc., should be addressed directly to Virginia Western and not to the Commission's office.
The College is a member of the Virginia Community College System and is approved by the State Board for Community Colleges. Virginia Western is also approved by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. Certain curricula of the College are accredited and/or approved by specialized accrediting organizations:
- A.S. Business Administration, A.A.S. Accounting, A.A.S. Administrative Management Technology, A.A.S. Information Systems Technology and A.A.S. Management programs, including all program specializations, are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
- A.A.S. Culinary Arts and Career Studies Certificate in Culinary Arts are accredited by the American Culinary Federation
- A.A.S. Dental Hygiene is accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation.
- A.A.S. Nursing and Certificate of Practical Nursing are approved by the Virginia Board of Nursing.
- A.A.S. Radiography and A.A.S. Radiation Oncology are accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology.
This section provides information on Virginia Western's progress towards reaffirmation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). This information is subject to update throughout the reaffirmation process.
What is reaffirmation?
Institutions accredited by SACSCOC normally go through a full reaffirmation process every ten years. Virginia Western, which has been continually accredited through SACSCOC since 1969, had its accreditation fully reaffirmed in 2014. During this process, SACSCOC reviewed Virginia Western's compliance with nearly 100 standards. As part of the reaffirmation process, Virginia Western developed a five-year Quality Enhancement Plan to improve the student learning environment. This plan, called Navigate, focuses on improving students' academic planning by instilling a culture of student individual responsibility. Virginia Western's next reaffirmation will be conducted in 2024.
What is SACSCOC?
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) is one of six regional accrediting bodies recognized by the United States Department of Education for accrediting colleges and schools. The Commission on Colleges is the division of SACS that accredits colleges and universities.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges is the recognized regional accrediting body in the eleven U.S. Southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia) and in Latin America for those institutions of higher education that award associate, baccalaureate, master's or doctoral degrees.
What is accreditation?
Accreditation is intended to assure constituents and the public of the quality and integrity of higher education institutions and programs, and to help those institutions and programs improve. These outcomes are achieved through rigorous internal and external review processes during which the institution is evaluated against a common set of standards. Accreditation by SACSCOC is a statement of the institution’s continuing commitment to integrity and its capacity to provide effective programs and services based on agreed-upon accreditation standards.
This accreditation includes ensuring that the institution has
- a mission appropriate to higher education,
- resources, programs, and services sufficient to accomplish and sustain its mission,
- clearly specified educational objectives that are consistent with its mission and appropriate to the degrees it offers, and that it is
- successful in assessing its achievement of these objectives and demonstrating improvements.
(modified from the SACSCOC Website)
Why is this accreditation important for our students and the College?
Accreditation by SACSCOC is recognition of the quality and integrity of Virginia Western and its programs.
The U.S. Department of Education requires that schools participating in federal student aid programs be accredited. Without college accreditation, our students would automatically be ineligible for federal financial aid.
Additionally, most accredited institutions will only accept transfer credits from other accredited institutions. In order for students to transfer credits earned at Virginia Western to other colleges and universities, it is essential that the College maintain its accreditation.
The SACSCOC reaffirmation process is a peer review process which provides an opportunity for the College to reflect on its programs and services. Through successful reaffirmation, Virginia Western will assure the quality and integrity of its programs and services to the students, faculty, staff and public.