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NOVA is one of 23 colleges in the Virginia Community College System approved by the State Board for Community Colleges and by the Virginia Community College System.


Northern Virginia Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097 or call 404.679.4500 for questions about the accreditation of NOVA. Contact NOVA at Administrative Offices, 4001 Wakefield Chapel Road, Annandale, VA 22003-3796 or call 703.323.3000 for other questions about the College.

Northern Virginia Community College’s accreditation was last reaffirmed in June of 2012. Accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges signifies 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.

Member institutions are required to notify the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) of changes in accordance with the substantive change policy and, when required, seek approval prior to the initiation of changes. Member institutions are required to have a policy and procedure to ensure that all substantive changes are reported to the Commission in a timely fashion.

Northern Virginia Community College’s Policy and Procedures for reporting Substantive Changes to the Commission can be found here.

Curricula of the College are approved by the College Board and by the State Board. The two-year associate degree programs are also approved by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

Specialized Accreditation

Specialized accreditation for individual programs of the College is sought and maintained only in those occupational fields where accreditation is essential for purposes of licensure and/or securing a job. Specialized accreditation may also be sought and maintained where there is demonstration that accreditation promotes a level of excellence and recognition for which the program is qualified. The need for specialized accreditation should be identified and justified at the time of curriculum approval.

To qualify for specialized accreditation for purposes of licensure and/or securing a job, evidence must be documented that accreditation is required to provide graduates access to licensure examinations. Further, there must be evidence that accreditation will provide graduates of the program equal status with other such programs in the College's service area and that accreditation will provide a vehicle for student recruitment and placement of graduates.

To qualify for specialized accreditation for purposes of excellence and recognition, justification must be provided that demonstrates the expected benefits that would result for the program, the students, and the College.

In all instances of requesting new specialized accreditation, an analysis must be submitted of direct and indirect costs associated with accreditation. Direct costs include any initial fees and any requirements to support site visits and the like. They also include ongoing fees and any periodic costs associated with reaffirmation. Indirect costs include any prescriptive specifications in the accreditation standards that have cost implications for the programs (e.g., credentialing requirements for faculty; number of full-time faculty; full-time to part-time faculty ratios; or student-faculty ratios). Also included in indirect costs is any projected need for reassigned time or other faculty support to apply for and maintain accreditation status.

The accrediting agency should be of national stature and should carry wide professional recognition.

The accrediting process must be established on a reasonable time cycle and be financially feasible.

Initiation of a special accreditation process shall be done by the academic dean for which accreditation is sought, with notification of the initiation given to the provost and College executive vice president of Academic and Student Services. The ensuing process shall be coordinated by the College executive vice president of Academic and Student Services, and all correspondence, reports, and institutional statements regarding the program under consideration shall be submitted to the accrediting agency over the signature of the president. The executive vice president of Academic and Student Services shall keep all reports and records dealing with accreditation for the College.