The University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), having first earned accreditation in 1921. The HLC is an independent corporation and one of two commission members of the NCA, which was founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. The HLC accredits, and thereby grants membership, in the Commission and in the North Central Association. In the United States, regional accreditors, such as the HLC, evaluate an institution’s effectiveness in fulfilling its educational mission using a set of quality standards, also known as criteria, evaluating and accrediting the institution as a whole. Along with assessing formal educational activities, the HLC also evaluates such things as governance and administration, student services, student learning, financial stability and institutional resources, institutional integrity, and relationships with internal and external constituencies. Accreditation, then, is a key indicator of quality assurance, an important benefit to both prospective students and institutional stakeholders.
Loyola's accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission was last reaffirmed in August of 2005, following a successful comprehensive evaluation and site visit. The next comprehensive institutional evaluation is scheduled for the Spring of 2015, ten years from the prior evaluation, representing the longest period of time allowed between evaluations under current Commission policies. In Fall of 2010, Loyola was one of twenty institutions invited by the Commission to participate in a demonstration project for a new model of accreditation. The new model is referred to as 'Pathways' and Loyola's participation in the Pathways demonstration project is the means by which the University plans to achieve continued accreditation in 2014-15. More information regarding the Pathways project will appear on this site during the coming calendar year.
In addition to comprehensive, institutional accreditation, specialized accreditors evaluate particular units, schools, or programs within an institution. Specialized accreditation, also called program accreditation, is often associated with national professional associations, such as those for medicine and law, or with specific disciplines, such as business, teacher education, psychology, or social work. Individual academic units and programs within the University have also achieved specialized accreditation.
- The School of Law is accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA),
- The Medical School is accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME, jointly sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges and the American Medical Association)
- The School of Social Work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
- The Quinlan School of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
- The School of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)
- The School of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
A number of Loyola’s degree programs have specialized accreditation recognition, including Ph.D. programs in clinical psychology, counseling psychology, and school psychology, which are accredited by the American Psychological Association.