Kansas Wesleyan University has received re-accreditation from The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and is scheduled for its next visit in 2026-27. It is the second time in as many decades that the university passed all criteria with no follow-up action required. In addition, the university recently received the highest possible Financial Responsibility Composite Score (3.0) from the U.S. Department of Education, which reflects the overall financial health of an institution.
Through a process of peer review, the HLC accredits degree-granting institutions of higher education. The university was notified last week by the HLC’s Institutional Actions Council that all parts of the institutional assessment standards were met and no follow-up action was required.
“This affirms that Kansas Wesleyan is healthy and vibrant,” said Matt Thompson, Ph.D., president and CEO. “The fact that our institution has met all requirements for the past two, 10-year cycle visits, says so much about faculty, the curriculum and the student experience at Kansas Wesleyan University.”
In addition to being assessed on teaching and learning, the university must also show active engagement from alumni, the community and the Board of Trustees.
“This unprecedented result is reflective of the long-standing commitment from the Salina community to our institution,” said Thompson. “Internships, partnerships with churches and nonprofits, our host family program — these all positively impact our students’ experience.”
“We are confident in our academic programs, and our alumni are proof that the classroom and experiential learning that happens on and off our campus is preparing our students for success,” said Charlie Grimwood, Ph.D., chair of the KWU Board of Trustees.
KWU’s sixth-month graduate survey showed that 100% of graduates from the class of 2016 were employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation (80% response rate). Of those surveyed, 84% were in career-related jobs — well above the national average of 71.8% (NCES Condition of Education Report 2017).
In March, the U.S. Department of Education verified that Kansas Wesleyan has a 3.0 rating, the highest possible, for its Financial Responsibility Composite Score. The rating is a composite of three ratios— reserve ratio, equity ratio and net income ratio — that is used by the Department of Education to help gauge the financial responsibility of an institution. Composite scores are only one of several factors that the department uses to assess an institution’s financial responsibility compliance. The other factors include sufficient institutional cash reserves to make the required refunds, including the return of Title IV funds (these requirements are known as the refund reserve standards); the school is meeting all of its financial obligations; and the school is current in its debt payments.
“As the new CFO, I’ve been impressed with the longstanding record of financial security at Kansas Wesleyan,” said Karen Tumlinson, who joined the university in fall 2016 as vice president of finance and operations. “Our university’s financial stability is a result of careful stewardship by dedicated trustees and administrators as well as tremendous support from our community.”
About the Higher Learning Commission
The HLC is an independent corporation that was founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. HLC accredits more than 1,000 degree-granting, post-secondary educational institutions in the North Central region (19 states).
The criteria for accreditation is organized under five major headings: Mission, Ethical and Responsible Conduct, Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources and Support, Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement, and Resources, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness.
About the U.S. Department of Education’s Financial Responsibility Composite Scores
The U.S. Department of Education requires all private colleges that award federal student aid to participate in an annual test based on information from their audited financial statements. The department develops a composite score on a scale of negative 1.0 to positive 3.0, based on financial ratios that measure factors such as net worth, operating losses, and the relationship of assets to liabilities. Institutions pass with scores of 1.5 to 3.0. Those with lower scores are subject to additional oversight and, in some cases, must post letters of credit.
These ratios gauge the fundamental elements of the financial health of an institution. The department released its numbers in March 2017, and the report is based on data from the 2014-15 academic year.