The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) is one of just six regional accreditation authorities in the United States that is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the United States Department of Education (USDE). SACS is one of the largest regional accreditors. It currently provides accreditation for over 13,000 public and private preschools, elementary, junior and high schools as well as hundreds of colleges and universities.
As SACS is a regional accreditation organization its authority to accredit schools is restricted to a specific region. SACS accredits institutions in the states of Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, and Texas, as well as American schools for U.S. students in the Caribbean, Mexico and South and Central America.
Within SASC there are several affiliated organizations. These include the Southern Association of Community, Junior, and Technical Colleges and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC).
SACS Commission on Colleges
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC) is primarily responsible for accrediting degree-granting colleges and universities within the region covered by SACS. Twice a year SACS-COC publishes a report over the Internet that details all accreditation actions that have taken place during the previous six months. The report may contain recently accredited institutions, reaffirmations of accreditation as well as public sanctions against higher education institutions. The report typically will include specific sanctions being placed on schools that have failed to meet the accreditation standards set by SACS.
Process of Accreditation
In order for a college or university to become accredited or reaffirm their accreditation status they are required to comply with the standards set forth in the Principles of Accreditation: Foundations of Quality Enhancement and with the procedures and policies provided directly by the Commission on Colleges.
The SACS-COC evaluates institutions and determines accreditation based on the following:
- Compliance with the Principle of Integrity
- Compliance with the Core Requirements
- Compliance with the Comprehensive Standards
- Compliance with additional Federal Requirements
- Compliance with the policies of the Commission on Colleges
To learn more about the SACS-COC accreditation process you can visit the organization’s website at http://www.sacscoc.org. A current list of all colleges and universities accredited by the SACS-COC can be found at http://www.sacscoc.org/membershipInfo.asp.