Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) is a regional accreditor which monitors, evaluates, and accredits education institutions in the states of Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, and Texas. It also evaluates American schools for U.S. students in Mexico, South and Central America, and the Caribbean Sea.

The SACS is one of six regional accrediting agencies in the United States, and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). SACS has jurisdiction over a comparatively large number of schools: more than 13,000 institutions ranging from preschools to universities.

SACS is subdivided into two organizations: the Southern Association of Community, Junior, and Technical Colleges, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC).

SACS Commission on Colleges

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC) evaluates and accredits any universities and colleges in the region which grant degrees. Every six months, SACS-COC issues an online publication which details any new accreditation actions that have taken place since the last publication. The publication reports which institutions have been newly accredited or have had their accreditation reaffirmed. It also provides warnings and public sanctions against institutions which did not meet the organization's standards for accreditation.

Process of Accreditation

SACS-COC provides a set of policies, procedures, and standards for accreditation. These are defined in their publication, The Principles of Accreditation: Foundations of Quality Enhancement. Any institution who wishes to become accredited by SACS-COC must comply with all guidelines set out in this publication.

In order to become accredited, an institution must comply with SACS-COC's Principles of Integrity, Comprehensive Standards, Core Requirements, and Federal Requirements, as well as with policies of the Commission on Colleges.

More information regarding SACS-COC and its accreditation process can be found on their website at www.sacscoc.org. A list of all institutions accredited by the agency can be found at sacscoc.org/membershipInfo.asp.

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) are two prominent government organizations that oversee higher education accreditation in the United States. These organizations are not directly involved in the actual process of accreditation; rather, they provide resources, guidelines, and information about accreditation agencies, and recognize which agencies are reputable.

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