The State Degree-granting Institutions Act requires all degree-granting institutions operating in Washington to obtain authorization from the Washington Student Achievement Council unless the Council has determined they are exempt. Washington's public colleges and universities, and many other institutions such as private and religious schools, are exempt institutions.
There are more than 70 authorized institutions in Washington. Authorization is program and site specific. Each program and teaching site must be reviewed every two years.
Current Requests for Authorization
Factors considered in determining authorization include an institution's financial stability, business practices, academic programs, and faculty qualifications. Authorization does not imply an endorsement of the institution or its programs by the Washington Student Achievement Council. It means only that the institution and its programs meet minimum state operating standards.
How to Apply for Authorization
The Council also administers the Foreign Degree-granting Branch Campus Act, which applies to foreign colleges or universities that send students enrolled in programs in the country of origin to Washington for brief periods of study.
The Workforce Board licenses private career schools that offer diplomas and certificate programs. Visit the WTB website for more information.
Private organizations - not the state of Washington - accredit institutions and their programs. Accreditation is a means of self-regulation and peer review by the educational community and may cover an entire institution or specific programs. The accreditation process is voluntary and can take up to 10 years. In general, schools must operate for at least two years before they can apply for accreditation.
The Council has prepared a list of accrediting associations recognized by the agency and the U.S. Department of Education. The U.S. Department of Education reviews some accrediting organizations and maintains a list of those it recognizes. To learn more, visit the U.S. Department of Education website.