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WASC operational area
|California, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Northern Marianas Islands, Palau, Tokyo|
|Affiliations||CHEA, US Department of Education|
|Website||ACS WASC Homepage ACCJC Homepage WSCUC Homepage|
The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) is an official academic body responsible for the accreditation of public and private universities, colleges, secondary and elementary schools in California and Hawaii, the territories of Guam, American Samoa and Northern Marianas Islands, in addition to the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, the Pacific Rim, East Asia, and areas of the Pacific and East Asia.
WASC is divided into three groups: the Accrediting Commission for Schools (ACS WASC), the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), and the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
The Accrediting Commission for Schools (ACS WASC)  accredits schools below the college level. Included are elementary, junior high, middle, high and adult schools, whether public, private, or church-related.
The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) evaluates and accredits public and private postsecondary institutions that offer two-year education programs and award the associate degree.
The ACCJC's mission is to help member institutions "to advance educational quality and student learning and achievement. This collaboration fosters institutional excellence and continuous improvement through innovation, self-analysis, peer review, and application of standards."
The WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) is a regional accrediting agency serving a diverse membership of public and private higher education institutions throughout California, Hawaii, and the Pacific, as well as a limited number of institutions outside the U.S. Jamienne S. Studley serves as president and CEO of the organization.
Through its work of peer review, based on standards agreed to by the membership, the Commission encourages continuous institutional improvement and assures the membership and its constituencies, including the public, that accredited institutions are fulfilling their missions in service to their students and the public good. WSCUC is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as certifying institutional eligibility for federal funding in a number of programs, including student access to federal financial aid.
Each WASC branch has a unique Commission made up of academic experts whose role is to help assure institutional quality. Commissioners serve revolving three-year terms.
The ACS WASC Commission consists of up to thirty-two persons selected by the Commission’s Nomination Review Committee from candidates nominated by member organizations or the Commission. Stephen Cathers serves as chair of the ACS WASC Commission, and Gregory Franklin serves as Vice Chair. A full list of commissioners is available here.
The ACCJC Commission has 19 members, elected by ACCJC member institutions. Representatives of the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and the system office of the University must be included on the Commission. Additionally, at least five Commission members must be academic representatives (faculty), up to five Commissioners are from the public, and at least three are administrative representatives that are two-year college administrators. There must also be Commissioners representing independent institutions, secondary educational institutions accredited by the ACCJC, four-year colleges and universities accredited by WSCUC, and institutions in the American Affiliated Pacific Islands.
Dr.Raúl Rodríguez serves as Chair of the ACCJC Commission and Dr. Ian Walton is Vice Chair. A full list of commissioners is available here.
The WSCUC Commission is made up of 33 members, including at least three public members, a representative from the Pacific Basin, a representative from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), and a representative from the Accrediting Commission for Schools (ACS WASC). Commissioners are nominated and elected by the chief executive officers of accredited institutions in the WASC region and serve overlapping three-year terms.