Accreditation within higher education is a voluntary, non-governmental process that gives public recognition to institutions that meet published standards. The purpose of accreditation is to assure the public as to the quality of an institution and its commitment to these high standards through continuous improvement. Two major types of accreditation include regional accreditation which is granted to an entire institution versus specialized accreditation which focuses on a specific program. Most specialized accrediting agencies require regional accreditation as a foundation for their reviews.
SIPI is currently accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), one of six regional accrediting bodies that accredit entire institutions. To achieve institutional accreditation from the HLC, SIPI underwent a comprehensive evaluation in October 2013. SIPI successfully demonstrated that it met established standards. As a result, the HLC Board of Trustees voted to grant regional accreditation to SIPI on February 27, 2014. Subsequently, on May 23, 2014, the Commission of Opticianry Accreditation (COA) informed SIPI that their Commissioners voted to approve the reinstatement of the Vision care Technology and Optical Technology/Lab programs to their list of COA accredited programs. The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) withdrew specialized accreditation on August 18, 2010; in order to regain accreditation by the ACBSP SIPI must reapply for accreditation. SIPI plans to reapply for this specialized accreditation in the near future.
As a regionally accredited institution, SIPI is eligible to participate in Title IV federal financial aid and Department of Veteran’s Affairs assistance programs. Regional accreditation status also facilitates the transfer of college credits to other regionally accredited institutions.