Accreditation is the process for evaluating and assuring the quality of education used by the American higher education community. It is a uniquely American process through which institutions collectively set standards for good practice, conduct peer-based evaluations of institutions on a regular basis, confer accredited status on institutions, and make the results of accreditation review of institutions known to the public. Through accreditation, the higher education community shoulders the responsibility for monitoring the quality of the programs and services of member institutions. Accrediting Commissions are the agencies that develop and apply standards. These commissions are created by a collective group of institutions that wish to engage in the quality review and assurance process, and are the member institutions of a commission. (http://www.accjc.org/)
The accreditation process includes a self-study, in which members of the campus community examine the college's performance relative to the standards. A site visit by a team of peers from other member institutions determines the validity of the self study, evaluates the college's performance relative to the standards, and makes a recommendation regarding the accreditation status of the college.