NMU Accreditation


NMU's Current Accreditation

Northern Michigan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Northern has been accredited by HLC since 1916. 

The HLC has described foundational Assumed Practices that are shared by all accredited institutions of higher education and Criteria for Accreditation organized into five headings, each with multiple Core Components. All components of each criterion must be met in order to satisfy a Criterion for Accreditation and all Criteria must be met for an institution to remain in good standing.

NMU is currently in good standing with HLC. Accreditation was most recently reaffirmed in 2016-17; NMU's next Assurance Review is in 2020 and the next Comprehensive Evaluation for reaffirmation is scheduled for 2026-27. A timeline of the process of preparing our 2020 Assurance Argument is available here

Accreditation is an ongoing process of meeting standards, continuously improving, and assuring quality demonstrated through internal and external review. Through the accreditation process, the University continuously reviews indicators against accreditation criteria to ensure that the standards are being met and to identify opportunities to strengthen or improve practices, processes, and policies. Regular accreditation review requires the University to identify data, information, and evidence and to document results that validate that it is meeting each standard. In addition to annual reporting, NMU's next major regular accreditation review will be an Assurance Review filed in fall 2020 with HLC peer review and response completed during academic year 2020-21. 

NMU is accredited on HLC's Open Pathway, which is focused on quality assurance and institutional improvement. Fostering a culture of careful attention to quality and continuous quality improvement is essential to remaining a high-caliber university and meeting Open Pathway expectations. The Open Pathway allows more freedom for NMU than other HLC accreditation pathways. 

HLC's accreditation means ongoing interaction with the external agency and peers from institutions like NMU who offer feedback on our practices, processes, and policies. A team of accreditation reviewers from peer institutions evaluate our Assurance Argument during the fourth year of the ten-year accreditation cycle and peers conduct a comprehensive review including a site visit to NMU in the tenth year (2026-27). After the Assurance Review of year four (2020-21), NMU will propose and carry out a years-long Quality Initiative. This work will be designed by NMU to advance the institution toward aspirational goals. 



Active Additional Location 

K I Sawyer
MSDC Building, 411 Avenue A
Gwinn, Michigan
Open: 09/01/2004


Inactive Additional Locations
(Northern can re-open an inactive additional location by changing status, no application or review required.)

Delta-Schoolcraft ISD Career Technical Center
2525 3rd Avenue South
Escanaba, Michigan
Open: 06/01/2015
Inactive: 06/28/2019


Northern Michigan University - Iron Mountain
2801 North U.S. 2
Iron Mountain, Michigan
Open: 01/01/2007
Inactive: 06/28/2019


Closed Additional Locations

Lake Superior State University
Ashwaubenon Street
Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
Open: 08/25/2002
Closed: 09/27/2017


Macomb Community College
44575 Garfield Road
Clinton Township, Michigan
Open: 01/21/2013
Closed: 09/27/2017


Northern Michigan University – Escanaba
2001 N. Lincoln Road
Escanaba, Michigan
Open: 01/01/1996
Closed: 09/27/2017


Northern Michigan University – Hancock
809 Hecla Street
Hancock, Michigan
Open: 01/01/2007
Closed: 12/12/2009


Northern Michigan University – MGHS
420 W. Magnetic
Marquette, Michigan
Open: 08/01/2007
Closed: 06/02/2019


Historical Institutional Accreditation Information

Previously, NMU adopted the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) method of accreditation formerly offered as an option by HLC. Information and resources from the period of NMU's accreditation under AQIP is available on our webpages at www.nmu.edu/aqip. When AQIP was a major HLC Pathway for accreditation, on a continuous basis, every participating institution had at least three Action Projects underway.

After the last System Portfolio review which led to reaffirmation of accreditation in 2016-17, NMU transitioned from the AQIP Pathway to HLC's Open Pathway.