Northwest Accreditation Commission

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Northwest Accreditation Commission
Abbreviation NWAC
Type Non-governmental organization
Purpose Educational accreditation
Headquarters Boise, Idaho
Region served
Seven northwestern states
Website www.northwestaccreditation.org

The Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC), formerly named the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools, is an organization that accredits a variety of schools, including K-12, elementary, middle, and high schools; schools offering distance education; non-degree-granting post-secondary institutions; and special purpose, supplementary education, travel education, and trans-regional schools in seven states in the northwestern United States. Formerly an independent entity based in Boise, Idaho, it is now a division of AdvancED.

The commission identifies its geographic territory as Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities is the recognized regional accreditation agency for post-secondary degree granting institutions in the seven-state region served by the Northwest Accreditation Commission.

History[edit]

The organization traces its history to 1917 when the Northwest Association of Secondary and Higher Schools was formed. In 1974 the association changed its name to the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges. In 2000 it became the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges and Universities, which disbanded and split into two separate organizations in 2004, with the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools handling the accreditation of schools and the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities handling the accreditation of institutions of higher education.[1]

In 2005 the organization's practice of accrediting schools outside its primary service region attracted controversy after it accredited a school in New York that was found to be issuing high school diplomas without the necessary state authorizations that were supposed to be prerequisites for accreditation.[2] Northwest Association officials explained that it had accredited schools located outside its primary service region because they were operated by an organization based in the region.[3]

In January 2012 the Northwest Accreditation Commission became a division of AdvancED, which was formed by the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement.[4]

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