Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC) is regionally accredited through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The Commission is an independent organization responsible for accrediting degree-granting and post-secondary educational institutions. Accreditation by a regional accreditor is required to offer federal financial aid to students, to receive federal grants, and to provide students the ability to transfer credit between accredited institutions.EMCC is in the process of conducting a self-study to achieve Reaffirmation of Accreditation in 2021-2022. To achieve reaffirmation, EMCC must meet all five of the HLC Criteria for Accreditation.
Estrella Mountain's history of accreditation began in the fall 1992, EMCC was a satellite campus of Glendale Community College and shared HLC accreditation. EMCC became a stand-alone, separately accredited institution in spring 1997, after a successful self-study and comprehensive accreditation visit by the Commission. Since initial accreditation, EMCC has successfully undergone three comprehensive visits. Most recently completing the Four-year Assurance Review, approved in the summer of 2016. The next comprehensive visit will occur during fall 2021 or spring 2022 (a date selected by the commission).
The Higher Learning Commission identifies three “pathway” model options. Higher education institutions are required to select one for maintaining accreditation.
EMCC chose the Open Pathway Model. The pathway includes a 10-year accreditation cycle that includes ongoing monitoring, planning, and improvement. The pathway requires:
Years 1-10: Annual Institutional Update - monitored by HLC to ensure institutional health and compliance.
Year 4: Assurance Review - serves as a formal midpoint evaluation.
Years 5-9: A Quality Initiative project - designed to meet current needs and aspiration of the college.
Year 10: A Comprehensive Evaluation - including an in-person visit by HLC Peer Review Team.