At Great Northern University, one of our core values is Scholarship. This critically important value is not just something we instill in our students; the principles therein of discipline, hard work, and growth of skills and knowledge also drives us as we grow the university. In short: we practice what we preach. We promote excellence in our students, and we pursue it for our university.
Two valuable ways we have pursued excellence for the university are in seeking authorization from the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC), and in pursuing accreditation from the Northwest Council on Colleges and University (NWCCU).
The Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC)
Great Northern University is authorized by the Washington Student Achievement Council and meets the requirements and minimum educational standards established for degree-granting institutions under the Degree-Granting Institutions Act. This authorization is subject to periodic review and authorizes Great Northern University to offer specific degree programs. The Council may be contacted for a list of currently authorized programs. Authorization by the Council does not carry with it an endorsement by the Council of the institution or its programs. Any person desiring information about the requirements of the act or the applicability of those requirements to the institution may contact the Council at P.O. Box 43430, Olympia, WA 98504-3430 or by email at degree firstname.lastname@example.org.
The transferability of credits earned at Great Northern University is at the discretion of the receiving college, university, or other educational institution. Students considering transferring to any institution should not assume that credits earned in any program of study at Great Northern University will be accepted by the receiving institution. Similarly, the ability of a degree, certificate, diploma, or other academic credential earned at Great Northern University to satisfy an admission requirement of another institution is at the discretion of the receiving institution. Accreditation does not guarantee credentials or credits earned at Great Northern University will be accepted by or transferred to another institution. To minimize the risk of having to repeat coursework, students should contact the receiving institution in advance for evaluation and determination of transferability of credits and/or acceptability of degrees, diplomas, or certificates earned.
The WSAC is a state cabinet-level agency that was created by the State of Washington to “advance educational opportunities and attainment in Washington.” This agency fosters a vibrant, yet demanding process through which organizations in the State of Washington must receive authorization to grant degrees as institutes of higher education. Through this process, the WSAC examines every facet of a university’s academic programs and operational plans, from examining academic policies and scrutinizing degree programs, to analyzing facilities and technology resources. All of these must measure up in order to receive authorization.
The WSAC authorization process was difficult, yet refining, and has yielded our desired result: Great Northern University received authorization to grant degrees from the WSAC in August of 2018.
Great Northern University is grateful that the State of Washington takes higher education very seriously. So do we. That’s why authorization from the WSAC was just the beginning for us.
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
There is another benchmark for higher education in the Pacific Northwest that has been locked firmly in our sights from day one: accreditation with the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Accreditation with the NWCCU is the gold standard for collegiate educational institutions. Whereas the authorization received from the WSAC establishes that Great Northern University meets the State of Washington’s standards for operating an institute of higher education, accreditation is a voluntary, peer-reviewed process that acts as a quality-control standard for academic excellence and institutional effectiveness.
In June of 2019 the Executive Team of Great Northern University travelled to Salt Lake City, UT, to present their application for accreditation at the NWCCU’s semiannual meeting. We are pleased and grateful that the NWCCU commissioners have accepted GNU’s application and have granted the university “Applicant” status. This status allows GNU to proceed to the next step of the process, which is a self-evaluation and data-collection period. Please visit the NWCCU’s description of the accreditation process for more information.