July 09, 2020

Following a two-year, campus-wide effort, The Catholic University of America has successfully earned reaccreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) through 2028. President John Garvey received the official notification from MSCHE, climaxing a process that began in February 2018.

The commission’s evaluation team that visited campus March 1-4 was comprehensive in its list of the University’s accomplishments while returning only one recommendation and no requirements. The commission has requested that the University provide by April 1, 2021, a supplemental report describing the implementation of processes that measure the extent of student achievement, generally, as well as the extent of student achievement in general education.

Overall, the evaluation team determined that the University appears to meet all seven standards for reaccreditation, including fidelity to the institution’s stated mission and goals, its adherence to high standards of ethics and integrity, and its design and delivery of the student learning experience. The University was assessed, as well, on its broad support for the student experience, educational effectiveness, planning and resources dedicated toward institutional improvement, and governance and leadership. The MSCHE visiting team’s full report is available online.

“This important — indeed, existential — accomplishment is the result of countless hours of work by so many members of the University community,” said Garvey. “That the visiting evaluation team’s report is so overwhelmingly positive speaks not only to the comprehensive and thoughtful way we prepared for the reaccreditation process during the past two years, but also to how the University strives to improve in delivering a high-quality educational experience for our students every day. This is a moment for everyone involved with Catholic University to celebrate.” 

Among the “exemplary institutional characteristics” identified by the evaluation team are the University’s unique role as the national university of the Catholic Church, its commitment to enhancing undergraduate and graduate programs in response to market needs, its focus on research, and its “exceptional commitment to student well-being.”

CatholicU also received high marks for its efforts to promote environmental sustainability; create programs serving nontraditional students, veterans, and first-generation students; provide professional development opportunities for faculty through the Center for Teaching Excellence; and the high degree of student involvement in ministries and service. 

Accreditation signifies that an institution maintains standards requisite for its graduates to gain admission to other reputable institutions of higher learning or to achieve a level of competency necessary for successful entry into the professional workforce. It helps prospective students determine acceptable institutions for enrollment while incentivizing colleges and universities to establish goals for institutional self-improvement. It is required for all colleges and universities receiving federal student assistance.

Traditionally, reaccreditation occurred on a 10-year cycle, though MSCHE recently changed that requirement to every eight years, meaning the University’s next self-study is likely to begin sometime in 2026.