What is the Middle States Commission on Higher Education?
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is the accrediting arm of Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, a private, voluntary
membership association that defines, maintains, and promotes educational excellence in colleges and universities with diverse missions, student populations, and resources. In accrediting member institutions, the commission examines each institution
as a whole rather than specific programs within the institution. The Middle States Association accredits degree-granting colleges and universities in the region that includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and
Pennsylvania, and also Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
What is accreditation?
Accreditation is a process of peer review that the higher education community has used for self-regulation since the early 20th century. This voluntary process is intended to strengthen and maintain the quality and integrity of higher education, making
it worthy of public confidence. Institutions choose to apply for accredited status and, once accredited, agree to abide by the standards of their accrediting organization and to regulate themselves by taking responsibility for their own improvement.
Why is it important to have accreditation?
Accreditation is a means of assuring the public that an institution is providing quality education consistent with its own mission and the principles established by the accrediting body. It demonstrates to other institutions, institutional leadership,
faculty, and students a commitment to excellence. Accreditation is also a requirement for any institution seeking federal financial aid for its students.
What are the criteria for Middle States accreditation?
The Middle States Commission has identified seven key characteristics of excellence. These characteristics address all aspects of an institution's effectiveness,
including mission, infrastructure, faculty, student body, resources, leadership, and educational offerings.
What are Middle States’ standards?
You can learn more about the standards and their criteria here.
How does the reaccreditation review occur?
This comprehensive review process is based on a self-study produced by the institution that addresses the characteristics of excellence outlined by MSCHE. Through the self-study, an institution evaluates how well it is meeting both its own goals and the
commission's standards. Another important part of the review process is a visit by a team of external evaluators. The team reviews the self-study and other background materials and visits the institution to gather additional information and perspectives
from students, faculty, administrative staff, and community members. The team then produces a report for the Middle States Commission. After reviewing all the documentation from the review process, the commission makes a decision about accrediting
How long does the reaccreditation review process take?
The process takes about two years from the time when the institution begins designing the self-study to the time when the Middle States Commission issues its decision on reaccreditation. The New School's process will being in earnest in fall 2022, when working groups will begin drafting chapters of the final Self-Study Report, and aligns with both the vision of our new president, Dr. Dwight A. McBride, and the launch of our new strategic planning process, led by our new provost, Dr. Renée T. White. The process will culminate in an on-site visit by a team of peer evaluators in spring 2024.
Who is involved in the self-study?
Broad input is needed in order to create a self-study that accurately and comprehensively reflects our institution. The New School therefore involves a cross-section of the campus community in creating the self-study report. The process is led by a steering
committee appointed by the president and the provost, including representatives from the faculty, administration, trustees, and student body.
How did The New School do in its previous reaccreditation reviews?
In 2003, The New School completed the Middle States reaccreditation review and was reaccredited without reservation. In 2008, the university produced a periodic review report that was positively reviewed by the Middle States Commission and
was among a handful of periodic review reports that received a special commendation that year. In 2014, The New School again completed the Middle States reaccreditation review and was reaccredited. You can read more about our last cycle in the section below.
Can I submit a comment to the Middle States Commission directly?
Yes, the commission makes available the opportunity to submit third-party comments regarding the institution’s compliance with standards for accreditation, requirements of affiliation, policies and procedures, and applicable federal regulatory requirements. Comments for consideration as part of this Self-Study should be submitted here by December 1, 2023.
I have other questions or comments. How can I share them?
Send your comments and questions by email to Paul Kramer, Director of Compliance and Accreditation. We invite input from the New School community and will do our best to answer your questions. This FAQ list will be updated and expanded periodically.