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University Accreditation


Ottawa University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (, a regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is an independent corporation that was founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. HLC accredits degree-granting post-secondary education institutions in the North Central region, which includes 19 states including Kansas. The federal government has a distinct interest in the role of accreditation in assuring quality in higher education for the students who benefit from federal financial aid program. By being recognized by the US Department of Education as a gatekeeper agency, the Commission agrees to fulfill specific federally defined responsibilities within the accreditation processes, as described by HLC.

Ottawa University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission

What is HLC accreditation?

Colleges and universities in the United States voluntarily seek accreditation to ensure they meet or exceed defined quality standards. There are two types of accreditation: institutional and specialized. Institutional accreditation is granted by one of six regional accrediting bodies which use peer reviewers to evaluate the entire institution. It is necessary in order for students at an institution to be eligible for federal financial aid. Specific programs within an institution may be accredited by specialized accrediting bodies that evaluate programs against discipline standards.

What are the criteria for accreditation?

The criteria for accreditation are the quality standards established by the Higher Learning Commission. The five criteria are:

  • Mission
  • Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct
  • Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support
  • Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement
  • Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness

What does institutional accreditation mean to Ottawa University?

Accreditation means:

  • assurance that Ottawa University is true to its mission;
  • assurance to the public that Ottawa University’s programs and services meet quality standards;
  • assurance that Ottawa University’s programs prepare students for the future in a multicultural and global society;
  • assurance that Ottawa University’s planning and resources are sufficient to achieve its purposes;
  • assurance that all activities are conducted with integrity
  • assurance that what is said to the public is what Ottawa University can and will deliver;
  • and, accreditation today means that our students are able to enjoy the benefits of higher education in a democratic society with the support of federal financial aid, both grants and loans.

What is the status of HLC accreditation?

At its meeting on June 30, 2014, the Institutional Actions Council (IAC) of the Higher Learning Commission continued Ottawa University's accreditation status. Ottawa University has been continually accredited since 1914.

Accreditations Granted to Ottawa University and Specific Programs

Ottawa University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission

The baccalaureate and master's degree Nursing program at Ottawa University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

CCNE Accreditation

The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) Baccalaureate/Graduate Degree Board of Commissioners has awarded Ottawa University, accreditation of selected business programs.

ACBSP Accreditation

The School of Education programs with licensure and certification pathways are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).


The National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission (NASAC) has awarded Ottawa University, accreditation of its Addiction Counseling programs.



Ottawa University has been approved to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA).


Certifications and Licenses Awarded to Ottawa University:

Associations and Organizations Affiliated with Ottawa University

  • Affiliated with the American Baptist Churches in the USA
  • American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
  • American Baptist Association of Colleges and Universities
  • Arizona Education Association
  • Arizona Education Consortium
  • Better Business Bureau serving Central/Northern Arizona
  • Better Business Bureau serving Southern Indiana, Louisville and Western Kentucky
  • Better Business Bureau serving Wisconsin
  • California Association for Alcohol/Drug Educators
  • Council for Advancement and Support of Education
  • Council of Independent Colleges
  • Independent Colleges and Universities of Arizona
  • Kansas Association of Colleges of Teacher Education
  • Kansas Association of Private Colleges of Teacher Education
  • Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC)
  • Kansas Independent College Fund
  • Kansas Independent College Association
  • National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors
  • National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
  • National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)
  • National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators
  • Society for Human Resource Management
  • Southeastern Wisconsin Education Consortium
  • The Association of Governing Boards

Rankings from National & Regional Publications

U.S. News & World Report

2022 Best Colleges Report - ranked as a 2022 Best College for Midwest Regional Colleges

Designations Awarded to Ottawa University


GOLD Military Friendly School rating for 2021-22



Colleges of Distinction 2021-22

Colleges of Distinction hand-picks a selection of top schools each year that are well equipped to provide a personalized education catered to students’ interests. Through a rigorous vetting and interview process each academic year, they refresh and reaffirm that these institutions strive for excellence in line with the four overarching distinctions—Student Engagement, Teaching, Community, and Outcomes.

Ottawa University is proud of its 2021-22 “Colleges of Distinction” designation in both Kansas and Arizona.

Ottawa University
(campus in Ottawa, Kansas)

Ottawa University-Arizona
(campus in Surprise, Arizona)


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