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 accredited 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 DOES INITIAL ACCREDITATION WITH HLC MEAN?

As of November 11, 2020, OCC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. This is the conclusion of a process that the college began in 2012 and a four-year candidacy process that was granted in November 2016.

DOES ACCREDITATION CHANGE THE MISSION OR FOCUS OF OZARK CHRISTIAN COLLEGE?

No. We've had one, laser-focused mission since 1942: we train men and women for Christian service. The college remains true to her focus as a single-purpose Bible college. The HLC evaluation teams that visited the school in spring 2016, 2018, and 2020 all 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 of Arts in Christian Ministry degree requires a minimum of 56 credit hours in biblical education studies, 31 credit hours in professional education studies, and 38 credit hours in general education studies.

WHAT HAPPENS TO OZARK’S ACCREDITATION WITH ABHE (ASSOCIATION FOR BIBLICAL HIGHER EDUCATION)? 

Ozark has been accredited by ABHE since 1988 and remains committed to maintaining accreditation status with ABHE. In 2019, the institution was granted a ten-year reaffirmation by ABHE through 2029.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HLC ACCREDITATION AND ABHE ACCREDITATION?

Until a change made by the Department of Education in February 2020, HLC was labeled a regional accreditation agency, ABHE, a national accreditation agency. The recent change makes both agencies “national” agencies, though the term “regional accreditation” is still widely used. Both HLC and ABHE are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit degree-granting colleges and universities.

ABHE accreditation focuses on certain types of colleges, such as Bible colleges and seminaries. HLC accreditation evaluates the institution compared to other schools within that particular region of the U.S. The criteria of these accrediting agencies are 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 an accrediting agency. This allows students to have access to Title IV Student Financial Aid programs of the Higher Education Act. Annually, students receive over $3 million through the institution’s disbursement of Title IV funds.

WHAT DOES HLC ACCREDITATION MEAN FOR TRANSFER OF CREDIT OR GRADUATE SCHOOL ADMISSION?

In adding HLC accreditation, students may find it easier to transfer college course credits earned at Ozark Christian College to state universities or private colleges that are more familiar with the accreditation of HLC than that of ABHE. Students should realize, however, that each college/university determines their own transfer of credit policies and may not transfer some credits due to institutional policies or program requirements. Students should contact the admissions or registrar’s office of the school to which they are transferring to inquire about their policies and procedures.

Many graduate programs, specifically those in areas besides biblical studies/theology/ministry, require students to have an undergraduate bachelor’s degree from an institution accredited by a regional accrediting agency. Students should be aware that graduate programs may require pre-requisite courses that were not part of the Bachelor of Arts requirements at Ozark and may have additional undergraduate coursework to complete before entering another field of study at the graduate level.

I GRADUATED FROM OZARK A FEW YEARS AGO AND AM WONDERING IF HLC ACCREDITATION IS RETROACTIVE.

Unfortunately, it is not. Though this process did begin for Ozark Christian College in 2012, a candidacy review took place in 2016, and a biennial review was conducted in 2018. Initial accreditation was granted in November 2020 after the four-year candidacy process.

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, but that decision is at the discretion of the graduate institution. Any questions about this status can be sent to Dr. Teresa Roberts, Vice President of Institutional Research and Effectiveness.

I GRADUATED FROM OZARK BEFORE 2020 AND NEED A REGIONALLY ACCREDITED DEGREE - CAN MY DEGREE BE GRANTED AGAIN?

Unfortunately, no. According to the policies in higher education, you are granted a degree upon the completion of all requirements. Ozark Christian College is not permitted to change the date that your degree was granted.

If a student graduated since 2016, you may advocate to the agency requiring a regionally accredited degree that Ozark Christian College was a Candidate for Accreditation since 2016.

A student can also explore earning a second bachelor’s degree at Ozark Christian College, which, in most situations, would require less than 30 credit hours (10 or fewer classes) and could be completed online.

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Accreditation

Ozark's accreditation with ABHE and HLC.

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