What is the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools? (SACS)

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

In the United States, the responsibility for accreditation of higher education institutions lies with regional associations that are recognized as having the quality, expertise, and experience to exercise accreditation authority. SMU is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS COC).

The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities (SACS COC) is the recognized regional accrediting authority for higher education institutions in eleven southern states (and Latin America) that award any of the following: associate degree, baccalaureate, master’s, or doctoral degrees. The U.S. Department of Education recognizes the COC as a “reliable authority as to the quality of postsecondary education” within the meaning of the Higher Education Act of 1965. Thus, accreditation by SACS COC conveys a powerful message that the University meets the standards and processes for quality recognized by its peers, academic experts, and the federal government.

Specifically, accreditation by the Commission on Colleges signifies, in the words of the COC, that “the institution (1) has a mission appropriate to higher education; (2) has resources, programs, and services sufficient to accomplish and sustain that mission; and (3) maintains clearly specified educational objectives that are consistent with its mission and appropriate to the degrees it offers, and that indicate whether it is successful in achieving its stated objectives.”