Providing Accreditation since 1986

Becoming Accredited

In order to be eligible to become accredited, an applicant institution in the United States must demonstrate that it meets the Requirements of Affiliation. An institution of higher education may be said to be affiliated with the Commission only after it has achieved candidacy (pre-accreditation) or accredited status. 

The length of time from candidacy to accreditation depends on a number of factors, including how long the institution has been in operation and its compliance with the Requirements of Affiliation.  Once candidacy is achieved, an institution must progress to accreditation within five years. Colleges and universities seeking to affiliate with the Commission should review the following documents:

  • The Meaning of Candidacy
  • Criteria for Candidacy
  • Becoming Accredited: A Guide for New England Institutions
  • Requirements of Affiliation

Free-standing institutions abroad interested in exploring U.S. accreditation are advised to work closely with Commission staff. CIFMAT's criteria for consideration include the following requirements, among others: that the institution be American-style, that it be independent (non-governmental), that academic programs are comparable to those offered in the U.S.;  that the institution has a governing board including representation of the public interest; and that administration, faculty and professional staff collectively have significant experience in American higher education.

A complete set of criteria is found in the following documents:

  • Requirements of Affiliation for Free-Standing Institutions Abroad
  • Becoming Accredited: A Guide to Eligibility, Candidacy, and Initial Accreditation for Free-Standing Institutions Abroad