The University of Nizwa was established in 2002 by the Decree of Sultan Qaboos as the first non-profit university in the Sultanate of Oman; it remains the only institution of its kind in the nation. Upon the satisfaction of all requirements set forth by the Ministry of Higher Education and the Higher Education Council, the University of Nizwa was granted legal status by ministerial decision No. 1/2004 on January 3, 2004. On October 16, 2004, the University of Nizwa opened the doors to its inaugural class of 1,200 students, 88% of whom were Omani women. The current campus is located near the base of the famous Jabal al-Akhdhar in Birkat al-Mouz, 20 km NW of Nizwa. The construction of a new campus, located near the new Farq-Hail highwa began in March 2010. Still unaccredited with lower ranking, the university is currently in the final stage of institutional accreditation in accordance with the academic standards established by the Oman Academic Accreditation Authority.