WSCUC Accreditation

Simpson University has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) since 1969. WSCUC is one of six regional accrediting associations in the United States.

As a member, the university participates in periodic accreditation review. By participating in this process Simpson University demonstrates its commitment to developing and sustaining institutional capacity (operational integrity, fiscal stability and appropriate organizational structures to fulfill its purposes) and its commitment to educational effectiveness (organizing for learning and being a learning organization).

Simpson University received an action letter from WSCUC on March 15, 2017, that continues the university's accreditation, with a status of probation. The university will have a special visit in fall 2018, at which time the status will be reevaluated. Simpson University remains fully accredited during the two-year probation period. The probation status does not impact students’ degrees or financial aid.

Simpson University is committed to serving its students and maintaining its accreditation and is working diligently to address the areas of concern noted by the accrediting agency.

Update (4.18.17): A May 24 meeting has been scheduled for eight Simpson University representatives to meet with WSCUC staff at WSCUC headquarters in Alameda, California.

Update (5.31.17): Eight university representatives met with WSCUC officials on May 24 in Alameda to discuss further the rationale for placing the university on accreditation probation, and the timeline moving forward. As expected, the officials discussed the need to focus on the areas of finances, coordinated and communicated strategic planning, and continuous improvement. The university team left feeling encouraged by the collaborative attitude of the WSCUC staff and with the conviction that the university can accomplish what is required. The next step will be a written report submitted by the university, followed by a campus visit from WSCUC staff. The university has requested the visit be scheduled for November 2018.

FAQs

  • Q:  Who is WSCUC and what is accreditation?

    A:  The WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) is a regional accrediting agency serving a diverse membership of public and private higher education institutions throughout California, Hawaii, and the Pacific as well as a limited number of institutions outside the U.S. Through its work of peer review, based on standards agreed to by the membership, the Commission encourages continuous institutional improvement and assures the membership and its constituencies, including the public, that accredited institutions are fulfilling their missions in service to their students and the public good.

    The WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as certifying institutional eligibility for federal funding in a number of programs, including student access to federal financial aid.

    (From wscuc.org)

  • Q:  What is probation and what does it mean for Simpson University?

    A:  Probation is a public status signifying that an accredited institution is no longer in compliance with one or more of WSCUC’s Standards for Accreditation. Simpson University’s accreditation remains intact. The university may be asked to submit periodic reports and to have visits from representatives of the Commission. While on probation, any new site or degree program would require formal substantive change review.

  • Q:  Why is Simpson University on probation?

    A:  Simpson University submitted a self-study report to WSCUC in fall 2015, based on WSCUC’s Standards for Accreditation. The study was the result of a two-year campuswide effort. In November 2015, the university participated in an off-site visit with WSCUC, where team members asked questions and determined lines of inquiry they would explore in a future visit to the university in September 2016. The WSCUC team visited campus Sept. 28-30, 2016, and submitted its findings to WSCUC.

    On March 15, 2017, the Commission notified the university that it had found Simpson University in noncompliance with two WSCUC Standards related to the following issues and had acted to impose probation:

    • 1. Financial strength and sustainability
    • 2. Strategic planning

    The Commission's action letter can be found here.

  • Q:  Does probation directly impact Simpson University students?

    A:  No. It does not impact a student’s financial aid (state, federal and institutional), nor does it affect a student’s degree or the timing of their program. Simpson University remains fully accredited. Simpson University credits continue to be valid for both transfer or for admission to graduate school.

  • Q:  Will a degree from SU continue to be a valid and accredited degree?

    A:  Yes. A Simpson University-conferred degree for students who have already graduated or are planning to graduate will remain fully accredited.

  • Q:  What actions has Simpson University taken and what will it be doing to ensure its accreditation status remains intact?

    A:  Simpson University has been and continues to actively address the areas of concern noted by WSCUC. By mid-June 2017, an administrative team will have met with WSCUC to discuss plans that are in place; an institutional report will be prepared in advance of a fall 2018 campus visit. Following the WSCUC team visit to campus in September 2016, the university began working diligently in the areas of concern identified by the team — financial sustainability and strategic planning — and continues in that effort.

  • Q:  What happens after the two years of probation?

    A:  It is the responsibility of the accrediting Commission to determine, at the end of the sanction period, whether Simpson University has corrected the situation and has come into compliance with Commission Standards.

  • Q:  Does probation impact those who give to support Simpson and its students financially?

    A:  No. The ruling does not impact our giving partners or their gifts to the university in any way. We are grateful for their support that immensely benefits the students and mission of Simpson University.

  • Q:  Has Simpson University been on probation before?

    A:  Yes, during its 48 years of continuous accreditation with WASC, the university has been on probation, warning, and given a formal notice of concern. In each case, Simpson adequately addressed concerns and returned to clear accreditation status. The accreditation process is about making an institution better, and the university is committed to that.

  • Q:  What is the university’s debt load and how much of a concern is that?

    A:  Simpson University carries $17 million in debt, with an additional $4 million line of credit. With its property appraised for $36 million, the university has a good loan-to-value ratio. The university’s debt payment constitutes only 7 percent of its revenue, which is also a very good ratio. The monthly debt payment reduces the principal of the loan by $440,000 each year. The university has never missed a payment.

  • Q:  Is the university anticipating personnel reductions?

    A:  No. A cycle of lower enrollment resulted in the university making 56 personnel reductions in 2016 through a combination of reducing hours, eliminating positions, and not filling open positions. Those were difficult and painful decisions that resulted in balancing the budget. The accrediting agency wants to ensure that Simpson has the personnel and resources to fulfill its mission as a Christ-centered educational institution. Simpson has already begun to “reinvest” in its employees and plans to continue doing so.

Links

Additional questions about accreditation?