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Northwest Missouri State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. HLC offers select institutions the opportunity to earn reaccreditation through the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP). As described on their website, AQIP "infuses the principles and benefits of continuous improvement into the culture of colleges and universities by providing an alternative process through which an already-accredited institution can maintain its accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. With AQIP, an institution demonstrates it meets accreditation standards and expectations through sequences of events that align with those ongoing activities that characterize organizations striving to improve their performance."
Northwest has been an AQIP institution since 2005 and served as a pilot institution in the development of AQIP in the late 1990s.