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NPRC Accreditation – What Candidacy Means

March 24, 2023 1:18 pm

NPRC Named Candidate for Accreditation by Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

What does Candidacy mean?

Northern Pennsylvania Regional College has achieved a significant milestone in its journey to accreditation and is now a Candidate institution through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

NPRC first began this process a few years ago and elected to pursue accreditation through MSCHE. Many institutions in our region, throughout the country, and around the world are proud to be accredited by MSCHE. This institutional accreditor is widely viewed with high regard by scholars and institutions of higher education.

While NPRC formally announced the news last week, this is what you should know about accreditation and what it means for NPRC to be a Candidate institution.

What is Accreditation?

Accreditation is an optional quality assurance process for colleges that help ensure an institution’s credibility. NPRC values accreditation because it affirms that certificate and degree programs align with the highest possible standards. Therefore, achieving accreditation gives students confidence that their education is held in the highest regard and positively impacts their careers and professional futures.

What does it mean to be a Candidate for Accreditation?

To be Candidates for Accreditation means NPRC has been accepted as a member institution of MSCHE and it will begin its first self-study. This is a multi-year review process that helps support the College’s goal of continual improvement. While the work continues, this milestone confirms NPRC has met the standards of accreditation and requirements of affiliation of MSCHE member institutions.

In accordance with federal regulation, NPRC’s Candidacy status is valid for up to five years.

Why is it important?

The news of Candidacy brings added opportunities for current and future students. For example, all current and future students who complete their degrees during the College’s Candidacy phase will be able to share that their achievement occurred at an accredited college upon NPRC’s granting of accreditation status by MSCHE. This means that May 2023 NPRC graduates will be the first students in institution history to be able to declare that they received accredited associate degrees and general education certificates in the future.

Financial importance of Accreditation

Moving to financial implications, many current NPRC students are eligible for institutional aid from NPRC to help students meet the costs of college. In addition to holding the cost of tuition rates at the same low rate since the 2018-19 academic year, NPRC is proud to have kept more than 50 percent of required academic textbooks available at no cost through open education resources.

Scholarships and grants provide another avenue to students looking for sources of financial support for their education. While all these attributes make NPRC affordable, becoming a Candidate for Accreditation continues to pave the way for NPRC to become eligible to award state and federal aid, sometimes referred to as Title IV Aid.

Title IV Financial aid includes programs associated with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA ®). Upon successful Title IV application completion, NPRC will be eligible to award aid such as Pell grants and Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) funding.

Additionally, accreditation brings new funding opportunities for United States veterans who are taking or will take courses at NPRC. Becoming a Candidate for Accreditation provides NPRC the opportunity to initiate the process of applying for veterans funding and GI Bill benefits. These funds will then be able to be accepted once accredited.

Additional pathways for success

Another added benefit of NPRC becoming a Candidate for Accreditation is it will eventually provide additional pathways for NPRC graduates to smoothly transfer to four-year colleges. Presently, NPRC is in good standing with many local institutions, including having an academic agreement and scholarship program with Commonwealth University (integrated Universities of Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield). Candidacy as a member institution of MSCHE assures potential transfer institutions that NPRC adheres to the same standards of accreditation and commitment to excellence. This paves the way for more partnerships in education and helps many of our current and future students find their next stop in their educational journey in a more seamless way.

NPRC’s President Susan Snelick shares, “This is a significant milestone and one of the most important days in the young history of Northern Pennsylvania Regional College. I am proud of the entire NPRC team, community, legislative advocates, students, and the College’s community and location partners. We look forward to continuing to work closely with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education as we strive to meet NPRC’s mission and service the region’s residents and employers.”

For more information about NPRC’s accreditation journey, including periodic updates on NPRC’s status as candidates and progress towards being Title IV aid eligible, head to the NPRC website and connect with us on social media.

NPRC acknowledges that the information contained in this content is complete and accurate at time of publication. It is descriptive in nature and the college reserves the right to make any adjustments it deems necessary or desirable. Updates to programs, tuition, or other academic-related items will be reflected in the online College Catalog or on the respective College web pages. Questions regarding accuracy of content may be emailed to