Accreditation FAQs

What is accreditation?

Accreditation is a means of assuring the public that an institution meets accepted standards of quality and integrity. Accreditation is founded upon three key principles: voluntary participation, self-study, and peer review. The standards or criteria for an accreditation agency are designed by the member institutions. Institutions seeking to obtain or renew accreditation are required to complete a self-study review upon which they assess themselves against the standards or criteria of the accreditation agency. An evaluation team of professional peer educators from sister institutions will review the self-study to verify the institution’s claims. The report of the evaluation team is reviewed by a commission or panel which is empowered by the schools within the accreditation body to grant an institution’s accredited status.

What’s the difference between candidacy status and accreditation?

Candidacy status means that Ozark has met all requirements for eligibility and has successfully demonstrated the capacity to meet all criteria for accreditation within four years.

What’s the next step during the candidacy status?

OCC has already begun to prepare for the next review by HLC, which will take place in spring 2018. This visit will review the entire institution with focus on suggestions for continuous improvement identified during the 2016 review. This includes efforts to improve institutional effectiveness and ongoing assessment of programs. Once this visit is complete, a final visit will occur by spring 2020 to complete the candidacy phase.

Does accreditation change the mission or focus of Ozark Christian College?

No! Our mission is firm: “to train men and women for Christian service.” The college remains true to her focus as a single-purpose Bible college. The HLC evaluation team that visited the school in spring 2016, along with the HLC committee that reviewed all documents in fall 2016, acknowledged that the institution is clearly committed to this mission.

Does accreditation change the curriculum of Ozark Christian College?

No. For example, the four-year bachelor’s degree from Ozark still requires a minimum of 57 credit hours in biblical education studies, 33 credit hours in professional education studies, and 38 credit hours in general education studies.

What happens to Ozark’s accreditation with ABHE (Association of Biblical Higher Education)? 

Ozark has been accredited by ABHE since 1988 and remains committed to maintain their accreditation status with ABHE. The institution has already begun preparation for the ABHE reaffirmation of accreditation visit to take place in spring 2018.

What is the difference between HLC accreditation and ABHE accreditation?

HLC is a regional accreditation agency, while ABHE is a national accreditation agency. Both agencies are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit degree-granting colleges and universities.  

National accreditation provided by ABHE focuses on certain types of colleges, such as Bible colleges and seminaries.

Regional accreditation validates the quality of an institution as a whole and evaluates the institution compared to other schools within that particular region of the U.S. The criteria of these accrediting agencies is broad enough to accommodate a wide variety of institutional missions with particular focus on the ongoing evaluation and assessment of an institution.

Why does Ozark Christian College need accreditation?

In order for Ozark Christian College to be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, the institution must be accredited by either a regional or national accrediting agency. This allows students to have access to Title IV Student Financial Aid programs of the Higher Education Act. For example, during the 2015-16 year, students received $3.385 million through the institution’s disbursement of Title IV funds. Additionally, regional accreditation will assist students who desire to transfer credits from Ozark to other institutions or for graduates who are applying to graduate programs.

I graduated from Ozark a few years ago and am wondering if this candidacy is retroactive.

Unfortunately, it is not. Though this process did begin for Ozark Christian College in 2012, the review took place in 2016 and candidacy was granted this fall after the submission of an assurance argument, an onsite visit, a committee hearing, and a commission review. Therefore, the institution became a candidate on November 3, 2016. If an alum is applying to a graduate school that requires an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution, it might be possible that the institution will recognize that this is a multi-year process and grant the student admittance. Any questions about this status can be sent to Dr. Teresa Welch, Vice President of Institutional Research and Effectiveness.

Read more about accreditation with HLC.
Read more about accreditation with ABHE.

Learn More

Mission & Values

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Mission & Values


We "teach the Word of Christ in the Spirit of Christ." Here's how.



Ozark's current accreditation status with ABHE.

Learning Assessment

Learning Assessment

Academic excellence requires the ongoing assessment of student learning.

Learning Assessment
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