The University of Northern Iowa’s strong graduation rates, commitment to community involvement and general education program have earned praise from a university accreditation group. 

After an intensive three-year process that culminated in an on-campus site visit in the spring,  the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) reaffirmed UNI’s accreditation until its next review in 2030-31. Colleges and universities across the United States participate in the regional accreditation process to, among other benefits, maintain eligibility to offer federal financial aid to students and to ensure degrees awarded to graduates are recognized by employers and graduate schools. The commission, one of 6 regional accreditation institutions in the U.S., noted numerous strengths at UNI during its rigorous evaluation process. 

They include: 

  • Strong graduation rates compared to peer institutions
  • Developing a new general education program “designed around student learning outcomes rather than a focus on independent disciplinary content or themes.”
  • Community engagement through the Service Learning Institute, which pairs faculty and students with local nonprofits in ways that allow students to gain knowledge and practical experience while also doing coursework. 
  • “Significant and commendable” work on program review and assessment. The evaluators noted UNI’s work to ensure that both undergraduate and graduate students have positive learning outcomes.

“These accolades from the Higher Learning Commission demonstrate our commitment to providing a high-quality, affordable education that prepares our students to succeed in both the workforce and in their communities,” said UNI President Mark A. Nook. 

The HLC review included a top-to-bottom evaluation of UNI’s operations, including policies, procedures, and practices related to governance, teaching and learning, assessment and continuous improvement, budget and planning, and compliance with federal regulations.