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Accreditation by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)

Northern Essex Community College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (formerly the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.).

Accreditation of an institution of higher education by the Commission indicates that it meets or exceeds criteria for the assessment of institutional quality periodically applied through a peer review process. An accredited college or university is one which has available the necessary resources to achieve its stated purposes through appropriate educational programs, is substantially doing so, and gives reasonable evidence that it will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Institutional integrity is also addressed through accreditation.

Accreditation by the Commission is not partial but applies to the institution as a whole. As such, it is not a guarantee of every course or program offered, or the competence of individual graduates. Rather, it provides reasonable assurance about the quality of opportunities available to students who attend the institution.

Inquiries regarding the accreditation status by the Commission should be directed to the administrative staff of the institution.

Individuals also may contact:

New England Commission of Higher Education
3 Burlington Woods Drive, Suite 100
Burlington, MA 01803-4514
(781) 425 7785

The Process

At its September 2021 meeting, the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) accepted the comprehensive evaluation submitted by Northern Essex Community College, indicating its accreditation would be continued for the next 10 years. A fifth-year interim report will be due in 2025, and the next full review will occur in spring 2030. NECC has been fully accredited since 1970.

The accreditation process included a self-study by NECC, an evaluation by a NECHE visiting team, and an opportunity for input by the public.

Northern Essex Community College began the recent self-study process in the summer of 2018. The college created a self-study process that offered a vital opportunity to explore its practice in all areas of the college, analyze data, and create a process of discovery and professional development for those who elected to work on the standards.

The work began by appointing co-chairs of the self-study and a committee comprised of NECC faculty, staff, and students. An invitation was extended to the entire campus community to engage in the self-study, and co-chairs were selected for each of the nine standards. The initiative was launched in January 2019 with a workshop for participants, and a college kick-off at convocation.

Throughout the spring and summer of 2019, the standard teams worked in earnest, gathering data and drafting language for inclusion in the self-study. The academic vice president and co-chairs of the self-study leadership team met regularly with the chairs of the standards, and the writing team assembled a completed draft; the college community was invited to review and comment on the draft in September 2019. Based on responses received, a revised draft was reviewed and approved by the leadership team and the president in February 2020..

Due to COVID-19, the scheduled site visit for October 2020 was delayed until April 2021, at which time a NECHE evaluation team conducted a virtual site visit April 11-14, 2021.

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