Earlham has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1915. In 2014, Earlham received a full 10-year renewal of its accreditation.

The HLC is a national accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. In 2024, Earlham is scheduled for a HLC re-accreditation visit. Please consult the FAQs page linked below for information about what to expect leading up to this visit.

State authorization

Earlham College is recognized in statute by the State of Indiana as an “approved postsecondary education institution” under IC 21-7-13-6. Complaints may be filed with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

Other accreditation

Earlham School of Religion is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada.

The Graduate Programs in Education is currently seeking accreditation for the M.A.T. program through the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP). The College is anticipating a site visit from AAQEP in Fall 2024. The Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) program is fully accredited by the State of Indiana.

The undergraduate Chemistry major is approved and certified by the American Chemical Society. The next review is due June 30, 2028.

The undergraduate Biochemistry major is accredited by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology through October 14, 2025.

As a new program, the undergraduate Engineering major is not yet accredited by ABET, but we are following the necessary path to accreditation after our first cohort graduates and will submit our request for review in fall 2026.

Accreditation process

During the year preceding the 2014 accreditation visit, a faculty committee led by the provost conducted a thorough and critical study of Earlham’s academic, student life and administrative processes. This study identified the strengths, weaknesses, accomplishments and strategic plans for the future.

Widely consultative in nature, the committee reviewed extensive empirical data and evaluative reports from each academic department and administrative unit. The resulting Institutional Self-Study summarized Earlham’s progress toward fulfilling its mission since its 2004 accreditation review.

North Central Association of Colleges and Schools Accreditation

An excerpt from the team’s report that sums up their reasoning and their conclusions:

“Earlham College’s resources, structures, and processes are mature and are effectively and sufficiently directed toward the fulfillment of its mission and the improvement of the quality of its educational offerings. While the college has had a couple of years of enrollments and associated revenues below anticipated levels, strong and responsible fiscal management combined with an inherently stable fiscal foundation has allowed the College to make ‘an investment’ in its future by sustaining annual operating deficits so that resources can be directed at repositioning and strengthening the College’s enrollment and market position as a selective national liberal arts college. This decision and action is being done intentionally and with forethought and involvement of the board, president, administration, and campus community. The college’s demonstrated ability to do so, without incurring a significant crisis, illustrates the strength and effectiveness of its resources, organizational structures, and processes in support of its mission and educational offerings.

The college recognizes that to operate for a number of years with successive operating deficits, increased draws from unrestricted endowment, increased capital spending, and increased debt all carry significant risk of eroding the institution’s fiscal health. The board and senior administration acknowledge this risk and are taking steps to continuously monitor progress and have stated a willingness to alter plans as needed to both ensure long-term fiscal health and to optimize the mission of the college. The team commends the college for building a strong fiscal foundation from which a plan such as this could be possible and strongly encourages the college to closely monitor progress and to sustain or alter plans as appropriate to both ensure long-term fiscal health and to optimize its mission.

The college has a history of robust and effective comprehensive planning which is effectively integrated with the allocation of resources and institutional action. This allows for an effective response to future challenges and opportunities. The new plan and direction for the college is broadly understood and embraced and now guides effective institutional action and the realignment of resources toward optimal support of the college’s mission and educational programs.”

North Central Association of Colleges and Schools Accreditation

The Accreditation Report

The North Central Association assigned a team to conduct a Comprehensive Evaluation Visit on March 3-5, 2014. While on campus, the Evaluation Team reviewed many documents and interviewed many members of the College community.

In general, the Evaluation Team’s 2014 accreditation report is very complimentary of Earlham. The strengths noted by the team are significant. Earlham’s mission is clear and woven throughout the academic and co-curricular life of the community. Our Quaker and liberal arts identity is well reflected in current programs and practices as well as in the 2012 strategic plan. The College follows ethical principles in its governance policies, academic practices, and co-curricular life. Earlham has a strong faculty that creates a rich academic program with an effective infrastructure to support learning and teaching. A variety of student organizations serve student interests and institutional values.

The College has built a solid foundation for the assessment of student learning in relation to goals that reflect the mission of the institution. There are some strategies in place that should lead to improved retention, including enhanced admissions selectivity and more integrated efforts to help enrolled students to succeed. Earlham has created and employed a variety of reviews of personnel and programs to promote continuous improvement. Earlham has a solid resource base that includes financial, physical and human resources and engages in systematic planning to guide the institution into the future.

We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.
We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.