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Reaffirmation of Accreditation

Accreditation is a form of self-regulation and quality assurance in higher education. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) is the recognized accrediting body for higher education institutions that award associate, baccalaureate, masters, or doctoral degrees in the 11 U.S. southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia), Latin America, and certain other international sites. Reaffirmation of accreditation requires the submission of a Fifth Year Interim Report (FYIR), decennial Compliance Certification Report (CCR), the development of a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), off-site and on-site reviews, and review by Commission. Official information regarding the College's regional accreditation may be found on the Office of Institutional Analytics website.

The College’s 2015 accreditation Compliance Certification Report, a nearly 500-page document, was submitted to SACSCOC in February 2015. A subsequent on-site visiting committee of representatives from peer institutions from across Southern states took place in March 2015. On December 8, 2015, at the SACSCOC annual meeting, Rollins College’s regional accreditation was reaffirmed with no recommendations for improvement. The College’s accreditation is assured through 2025 when the next decennial review will occur. Rollins was first accredited by SACSCOC in 1927 and has been continuously accredited since that time. The College's Enhancement Plan Impact Report, and a Fifth Year Interim Report (FYIR) Quality Referral Report for one standard were accepted by SACSCOC in June 2022.

Regional Accreditation 101

Q. What is accreditation?

A. Accreditation is a form of self-regulation and quality assurance in higher education. In the U.S., accreditation is coordinated by a non-governmental non-profit organization, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), and the U.S. Department of Education. Rollins’ USDE-recognized institutional accreditor is the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). SACSCOC is authorized to accredit institutions in southern states, Latin America, and several international locations. Comprised of its members, Rollins among them, SACSCOC accredits institutions that have missions appropriate to higher education, devote resources to carrying out those missions, and can show that they do, in fact, achieve those missions.

Q. Does Rollins really need to be accredited?

A. Institutions that want access to federal financial aid for their students hold USDE-recognized accreditation. So, yes: Rollins needs to be accredited.

Q. Is accreditation something new?

A. No. As more and more students began attending colleges across the U.S., accreditation organizations formed in the late 19th and 20th centuries to ensure consistency in academic standards across institutions. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) was founded in 1895; the Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) was founded in 1917, “and was organized to develop standards and a process for accrediting colleges and universities in the South,” according to the organization’s website. Rollins was first accredited by SACSCOC in 1927, and has been continuously accredited since that time.

Q. How often must an institution seek a reaffirmation of its accreditation?

A. An accredited institution like Rollins seeks a reaffirmation of accreditation every 10 years by undertaking a detailed self-study of its practices and submitting a required Compliance Certification Report (CCR) demonstrating its adherence to accreditor standards. The CCR shows the extent to which Rollins complies with each of the core requirements and standards presented in the SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation. For SACSCOC, a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) and project are required, along with a Fifth Year Interim Report (FYIR) in intervening years.

Q. How many requirements, standards, and regulations are there?

A. SACSCOC accredited institutions are asked currently to assure institutional compliance with about 75 core requirements and standards organized into 14 sections. While some of these standards do not apply to Rollins (e.g., questions about associate’s degrees), the College must still respond to each one, even if we only say, “This standard does not apply to Rollins.”

Q. Give an example of a standard.

A. Here are four examples that show some of the breadth and depth of the SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation core requirements and standards.

  • Section 7, Standard 7.1 Institutional Planning. The institution engages in ongoing, comprehensive, and integrated research-based planning and evaluation processes that (a) focus on institutional quality and effectiveness and (b) incorporate a systematic review of institutional goals and outcomes consistent with its mission. [Core Requirement]
  • Section 8, Standard 8.1 Student Achievement. The institution identifies, evaluates, and publishes goals and outcomes for student achievement appropriate to the institution's mission, the nature of the students it serves, and the kinds of programs offered. The institution uses multiple measures to document student success. [Core Requirement]
  • Section 9, Standard 9.1 Program Content. Educational programs (a) embody a coherent course of study, (b) are compatible with the stated mission and goals of the institution, and (c) are based on fields of study appropriate to higher education. [Core Requirement]

Q. Reaffirmation of accreditation sounds pretty demanding.

A. It is. Completing the CCR requires the collaboration of the entire campus. In addition, each claim that Rollins makes in the CCR must be backed up by documentation, in much the same way that a scholarly article would footnote its sources. Nearly 2,200 documents were gathered in completing the 2015 Rollins CCR.

Q. What if Rollins undergoes a dramatic change? Does that affect our accreditation?

A. SACSCOC defines “Substantive Change” as a significant departure from, modification of, or expansion in the nature and scope of an accredited institution. Some changes require only that SACSCOC is notified in advance; others require that a detailed and documented prospectus describing the proposed change and the College's capacity to successfully undertake it be submitted at least six months prior to the start date of a new program. Others may require not only a prospectus, but also full documentation and a site visit from a SACSCOC substantive change committee. Rollins had its most recent substantive change site visit when it desired to offer a doctoral degree; this proposal changed Rollins’s SACSCOC institution level (from III, bachelor’s, to V, which allows us to offer up to three doctoral degrees) and, thus, required the onsite visit.

Q. Is SACSCOC emphasizing anything now?

A. SACSCOC is emphasizing assessment of student learning, use of assessment results to improve learning, and the demonstration of student achievement. 

Q. What is the Quality Enhancement, or QEP, Plan I’ve heard about?

A. The SACSCOC Quality Enhancement Plan, or QEP, has been a reaccreditation requirement for about 30 years. SACSCOC asks all institutions to develop a QEP that (a) has a topic identified through its ongoing, comprehensive planning and evaluation processes; (b) has broad-based support of institutional constituencies; (c) focuses on improving specific student learning outcomes and/or student success; (d) commits resources to initiate, implement, and complete the QEP; and (e) includes a plan to assess achievement. Rollins developed its 2015 QEP following extensive campus conversations; the 2015 QEP, R-Compass, focused on integrating career planning into academic planning and advising. Rollins can nominate at least two experts as QEP reviewers; SACSCOC will choose one, who will be part of the site-visit team.

Q. What are the next reporting dates for regional accreditation?

A. The College submitted a Fifth-Year Interim Report (FYIR) consisting of an abbreviated compliance certification and an impact report for the College's QEP, to SACSCOC in March 2021. The College's next decennial reaffirmation Compliance Report will be due to SACSCOC in the fall of 2024.

Q. Where do I go for more information?

A. Go to for SACSCOC’s own “frequently asked questions” section.

Last Updated: 6-1-2022

Accreditation Leadership Team (ALT)

To be announced in late fall 2022.

Last Updated: 10-13-2022

2025 SACSCOC Reaffirmation

Philosophy, Components, and Timeline


Rollins College’s institutional accreditor, The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC or Commission), conducts a comprehensive review of its member institutions once every 10 years. Reaffirmation of institutional accreditation requires the College to conduct a comprehensive compliance audit of all programs and courses offered by the College on- and off-campus, and through distance education, prior to preparing a Compliance Certification Report (CCR) demonstrating and documenting compliance with all standards described in the SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation. The CCR attests to the institution’s honest assessment of compliance with the accreditation requirements of the Commission as applied to all aspects of the institution. The CCR is reviewed by a team of off-site peers, an onsite peer review team, and the SACSCOC Board of Trustees.

The College must also to develop and submit a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) demonstration project as part of the reaffirmation process. The QEP project must be identified through institutional planning processes, have broad-based support from institutional constituencies, and be focused on improving specific learning outcomes and/or student success. The QEP project spans a five-year period and requires vigorous assessment of effectiveness, which is reported to SACSCOC through a QEP Impact Report required as part of the College’s Fifth-Year Interim Report to the Commission.

Components of the Compliance Certification Report (CCR) for Rollins
I. Signature(s) Attesting to Integrity
II. List of Substantive Changes Approved Since the 2015 Reaffirmation
III. Institutional Assessment of Compliance (including QEP Proposal)
IV. Institutional Summary Form

Standards Under Review
(Bold = Core Requirements)

Section 1: The Principle of Integrity
    1.1 [CR] Integrity
Section 8: Student Achievement
    8.1 [CR] Student Achievement
    8.2.a. Student Outcomes: Educational Programs
    8.2.b Student Outcomes: General Education
    8.2.c Student Outcomes: Academic/Student Svcs
Section 2: Mission
    2.1 [CR] Institutional Mission
Section 9: Ed Program Structure & Content
    9.1 [CR] Program Content
    9.2 [CR] Program Length
    9.3 [CR] General Education Requirements
    9.4 Credits: Undergraduate Degrees
    9.5 Credits: Graduate/Professional Degrees
    9.6 Post-Baccalaureate Rigor & Curriculum
    9.7 Program Requirements
Section 3: Basic Eligibility Standards
    3.1.a [CR] Degree-Granting Authority
    3.1.b [CR] Course Work for Degrees
    3.1.c [CR] Continuous Operation
Section 10. Ed Policies, Procedures, Practices
    10.1 Academic Policies
    10.2 Public Information
    10.3 Archived Information
    10.4 Academic Governance
    10.5 Admissions Policies & Practices
    10.6 Distance & Correspondence Education
    10.7 Policies for Awarding Credit
    10.8 Evaluating & awarding Academic Credit
    10.9 Cooperative Academic Arrangements
Section 4: Governing Board
    4.1 [CR] Board Characteristics
    4.2.a Mission Review
    4.2.b Board/Administrative Distinction
    4.2.c CEO Evaluation/Selection
    4.2.d Conflict of Interest
    4.2.e Board Dismissal
    4.2.f External Influence
    4.2.g Board Self-Evaluation
    4.3 Multi-Level Governance
Section 11. Library & Learning/Info Rscs
    11.1 [CR] Library & Learning/Info Rscs
    11.2 Library & Learning/Info Staff
    11.3 Library & Learning/Info Access
Section 5: Admin & Organization
    5.1 [CR] Chief Executive Officer
    5.2.a CEO Control
    5.2.b Control of Intercollegiate Athletics
    5.2.c Control of Fund-Raising Activities
    5.3 Institution-Related Entities
    5.4 Qualified Admin/Academic Officers
    5.5 Personnel Appointment & Evaluation
Section 12: Academic & Student Support Svcs
    12.1 [CR] Student Support Svcs
    12.2 Student Support Svcs Staff
    12.3 Student Rights
    12.4 Student Complaints
    12.5 Student Records
    12.6 Student Debt
Section 6: Faculty
    6.1 [CR] Full-Time Faculty
    6.2.a Faculty Qualifications
    6.2.b Program Faculty
    6.2.c Program Coordination
    6.3 Faculty Appointment & Evaluation
    6.4 Academic Freedom
    6.5 Faculty Development
Section 13. Financial & Physical Resources
    13.1 [CR] Financial Resources
    13.2 [CR] Financial Documents
    13.3  Financial Responsibility
    13.4  Control of Finances
    13.5  Control of Sponsored Rsch/External Funds
    13.6  Federal & State Responsibilities
    13.7  Physical Resources
    13.8  Institutional Environment
Section 7: Planning & Effectiveness
    7.1 [CR] Institutional Planning
    7.2 Quality Enhancement Plan
    7.3 Administrative Effectiveness
Section 14. Transparency &  Representation
    14.1  Publication of Accreditation Status
    14.2  Substantive Change
    14.3  Comprehensive Institutional Reviews
    14.4  Representation to Other Agencies
    14.5  Policy Compliance



Academic Year 2021-2022 (August 2021-May 2022): PREPARATION YEAR
  • Establishment of Structure(s) for the Process (i.e., early discussions on committees and requirements)
  • Compliance reporting software template operational
  • June 2022: Request for Participation in Differentiated Review Submitted to SACSCOC
Academic Year 2022-2023 (August 2022-May 2023): SYSTEMS AND TRAINING YEAR
  • Fall 2022
    • Accreditation Leadership Team (ALT) Affirmed
    • Demonstration of Learning Team (DLT) Affirmed
    • Exploration of Possible Topics for the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) and Planning Committee
    • December: SACSCOC Reaffirmation Class of 2025 Orientation with Senior Staff (December)
    • December: Approval for Participation in Differentiated Review Determined by SACSCOC
    • QEP Planning Committee Established
  • Spring 2023
    • ALT Meets and Reviews Mapping of Writing Assignment Plans
    • Round One Writing Assignments Distributed
  • Summer 2023
    • QEP Planning Committee Members Attend SACSCOC Quality Institute Summer Workshops
    • Round Two Writing Assignments Distributed
Academic Year 2023-2024 (August 2023- May 2024): WRITING “SNAPSHOT” YEAR
  • Fall 2023
    • Summer narratives reviewed by ALT and comments returned to writers
  • Fall 2023/Spring 2024
    • Writing Teams complete narrative assignments made per schedule
  • Summer 2024
    • ALT Co-Chairs finalize, modify, and edit all compliance report narratives
    • Final review of compliance Report by VPAA|Provost and President
    • Draft of QEP Project proposal completed
Academic Year 2024-2025 (August 2024-May 2025): SUBMISSION YEAR
  • September 2024: Reaffirmation Compliance Report Due to SACSCOC
  • November: SACSCOC Off-Site Committee Reviews Rollins’ Compliance Report
  • December 2024: QEP Proposal and Response Report (if any) Due to SACSCOC
  • January-April 2025: On-Site Review
Academic Year 2025-2026 (August 2025-May 2026): REAFFIRMATION YEAR
  • May 2025: Response to the On-Site Committee Report (if any) Due to SACSCOC
  • December 2025: SACSCOC Reaffirms Rollins’ Accreditation

Last Updated: 10-11-2022