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 hosted a biennial review by an HLC team in March 2018. The college received notification in June 2018 that the college has been approved to continue in candidacy status. An initial accreditation visit will be held March 9-10, 2020. The college will be notified as to whether or not it has been granted accredited status with HLC in November 2020.

When will OCC be regionally accredited?

The college is continuing through the four-year candidacy phase and is preparing for a visit in March 2020. Though the college is hopeful that this process will conclude in a regionally accredited status by November 2020, this can not be guaranteed until notification is received from HLC.

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 teams that visited the school in spring 2016 and 2018 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 degrees from Ozark still 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 of Biblical Higher Education)? 

Ozark has been accredited by ABHE since 1988 and remains committed to maintain their 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?

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 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, but that decision at the discretion of the graduate institution. 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.

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Ozark's accreditation with ABHE and HLC.

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