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Read the four principles underlying our work.

Characteristics of PSC-Accredited Institutions

The Postsecondary Commission will accredit institutions that produce strong economic returns for their students, are transparent about their results, agree to be held accountable for the wage gains they provide to their students, and are innovative in their work.

1 – Economic Mobility

Students and families choose higher education for a variety of reasons. Getting a good job and economic security are repeatedly at the top of the list. PSC prioritizes economic mobility because of this and the belief that degrees should pay off in a reasonable timeframe.

PSC measures economic mobility in the following two ways.

Value-added Earnings: PSC requires that institutions produce wage gains for cohorts of entering students (including both eventual completers and non-completers) that exceed the costs they charge those students. PSC measures wage gains as the difference between the actual wages of students and a baseline estimate of the wages those same students would have experienced if they had not enrolled in further higher education.  

Absolute Earnings: In addition, and to protect students who encounter very low wages in the job market even if they have received the required wage gains to cover their costs, PSC requires that institutions’ graduates – at a minimum – have wages that exceed 150% of the federal poverty line.

2 – Transparency

PSC will require that its institutions disclose to prospective and existing students as well as to the general public a wide range of information that can help those stakeholders understand and evaluate the institution’s designs and outcomes. Beyond federally required performance and financial data, PSC institutions will disclose the value-added earnings and absolute earnings of their students, helping consumers make more informed choices about their higher education investment.

3 – Accountability

PSC is committed to holding institutions accountable for student outcomes as a way to protect students who invest time and money in higher education and taxpayers who help finance higher education. PSC has a particularly robust audit and ongoing monitoring process to track progress toward outcomes, and will take action with member institutions that fail to meet its brightline performance targets.

4 – Innovation

PSC anticipates that its institutions will often utilize innovative educational models as they work toward strong student outcomes. Examples of such designs include high-dosage student tutoring and advising, designs that maximize flexibility for students in scheduling and pacing their course work, and designs that engage employers in the delivery and design of programs.

More on the Postsecondary Commission’s process to become an accreditor can be found on the Frequently Asked Questions page.