University Accreditation Ensures Academic Quality

Pennsylvania Western University is committed to providing you with the very best in higher education. The accreditation process promotes excellence by verifying that PennWest University continues to meet top standards for educational quality.

Accreditation also allows:

  • Qualifying students to receive federal financial aid.
  • Our university to readily transfer course credits to and from other accredited institutions.


PennWest is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), an institutional accreditor recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Middle States is the same organization that for decades accredited our legacy universities: Clarion (since 1948), Edinboro (since 1949), and California University of Pennsylvania (since 1951).

Learn more about Middle States and its mission or review the Standards for Accreditation, 13th edition.


As an accredited university, PennWest regularly undertakes an in-depth self-study – a rigorous process of peer review, assessment, and evaluation that ensures we continue to meet the high standards of educational quality that accreditation requires.

The self-study is designed to engage our entire PennWest community – students, faculty, staff, administrators, trustees, and other community members – as we examine our university’s mission, demonstrate that we can accomplish that mission, and show that we are committed to continuous improvement that leads to student success.

Read the Self-Study Design

The self-study process aligns with PennWest’s 2023-2026 Strategic Plan, which officially launched in September 2023.


PennWest’s initial self-study began with preliminary activities in Fall 2022. It will culminate in a visit from our Middle States evaluation team in Spring 2025, followed by the team’s report and action by the full commission. This timeline is included in the Self-Study Design:

Date Activity/Task Status
Fall 2022 Attend Self-Study Institute X
December 2022 Meet with Middle States liaison X
Fall 2022 Begin to draft self-study design; establish MSCHE Self-Study SharePoint site X
February 2023 Assemble Steering Committee X
March 2023 Submit self-study design X
Sept. 2023 Announce opportunities for participation (open call to university community) X
Subcommittees form and work begins
Date Activity/Task Status
March-April 2023 Finalize Steering Committee and working groups X
March-May 2023 Working groups finalize lines of inquiry X
April 2023 Host Middle States liaison for self-study preparation visit X
Summer 2023 Revise self-study design for MSCHE acceptance X
Summer 2023 Working groups meet X
September 2023 Launch 2023-2026 PennWest Strategic Plan X
Subcommittees collect and analyze data; draft self-study report created
Date Activity/Task Status
August-December 2023 Working groups gather and analyze data, report to Steering Committee X
Fall 2023 Hold launch event for the university community to share self-study plan, timeline, and opportunities for participation X
Spring 2024 Draft self-study report and share with university community
Spring 2024 MSCHE selects self-study Evaluation Team chair MSCHE chooses visit dates
May-September 2024 Revise self-study report draft and make available for campus review
Final report created; MSCHE team conducts site visit
Date Activity/Task Status
September-November 2024 Send self-study report draft to MSCHE team chair (2 weeks before visit)
September-November 2024 Host preliminary visit by Evaluation Team chair
January 2025 Finalize self-study report based on team chair’s feedback; share final report with university community
January-March 2025 Upload final PennWest Self-Study Report/Evidence Inventory/Verification of Compliance to portal (6 weeks before site visit)
March 2025 Host Evaluation Team site visit
March-May 2025 Receive MSCHE Evaluation Team report
March-May 2025 Develop and submit institutional response
June-July 2025 Commission meets to determine action


In order to maintain accreditation, colleges and universities in the Middle States region undergo a self-study every eight years and submit annual updates to the Middle States Commission.

PennWest is engaged in its initial self-study as an integrated institution. To keep our PennWest community informed, documents will be added here as the self-study progresses.

PennWest Self-Study Design

PennWest Self-Study Working Groups

MSCHE Statement of Accreditation Status, Pennsylvania Western University

MSCHE Statement of Accreditation Status, California University of Pennsylvania, June 2022

MSCHE Statement of Accreditation Status, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, June 2022

MSCHE Statement of Accreditation Status, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, June 2022

Pennsylvania Western University is an accredited institution and a member of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE or the Commission). Pennsylvania Western University accreditation status is accreditation reaffirmed. The Commission’s most recent action on the institution’s accreditation status in 2022 was to reaffirm. MSCHE is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education to conduct accreditation and pre-accreditation activities (candidate status) for institutions of higher education including distance, correspondence education, and direct assessment programs offered at those institutions. The Commission’s geographic area of accrediting activities is throughout the United States.

For questions about PennWest’s self-study, contact our Accreditation Liaison Officer, Dr. Susanne Fenske (, or Executive Director of Institutional Effectiveness Becky McMillen (


Middle States Commission on Higher Education

1007 N. Orange St., 4th Floor, MB #166, Wilmington, DE 19801