Cal Poly is situated on the Central Coast; here, students enjoy the sunset at a local beach.

Image: Cal Poly is situated on California's Central Coast. Here, students enjoy the sunset at Shell Beach.


The United States has a system of regional accreditation for institutions of higher education — a system that affirms the quality of students' education and the institution's ability to receive federal funding, such as financial aid. Universities in California and Hawai'i (and even some internationally) are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), specifically through the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).


Cal Poly's Accreditation

Cal Poly is proud to say that its WSCUC accreditation was re-affirmed in Spring 2012 for the longest possible period of ten years. At that time, the commission encouraged the university to stay focused on issues of diversity and the assessment of student learning; the commission also asked for these issues to be addressed in an interim report, which was submitted in Spring 2015. Like all institutions with a ten-year period of review, Cal Poly was also required to undergo a midterm review five years into the cycle. This review consisted of an examination by WSCUC of data reported to the federal government’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), as well as information provided by the Inventory of Educational Effectiveness Indicators, a WSCUC report that documents the assessment process for each of the university’s academic programs.

Cal Poly's office for Academic Programs and Planning, particularly the Accreditation Liaison Officer, maintains Cal Poly's accreditation and is the central office for organizing and producing the final report. 


thematic pathway for Reaffirmation

Since the time of Cal Poly's 2012 self-study, WSCUC developed a more streamlined approach called the Thematic Pathway for Reaffirmation that allows institutions to focus on the themes that are important to them in a more abbreviated approach. WSCUC approved a select group of high-performing schools to participate; Cal Poly is one of them. 

Cal Poly has already begun to prepare for its next comprehensive review, which will occur in Winter/Spring 2022.

In July 2019, Cal Poly received an approval letter from WSCUC to explore the following theme:

Promoting the Success of All Cal Poly Students While Achieving the Goals of the CSU's Graduation Initiative 2025


Specifically, Cal Poly will focus on the following three sub-themes:

  1. Recruiting and Retaining a More Diverse Community of Students, Staff, and Faculty

  2. Developing a Campus Culture that Is Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive

  3. Teaching and Learning How to Live and Work in a Diverse World


For more information about the TPR process and theme selection, click here.

Cal Poly's Ten-Year Accreditation Review Cycle (2012-2022)

Quarter Step
Spring 2012 End of previous cycle (based on WSCUC action)
Spring 2015 Submission of interim report
Spring 2017 Mid-cycle review
Winter 2019 Submission of self-study proposal
Summer 2019 Approval of self-study proposal by WSCUC
Fall/Winter 2022 Submission of self-study report
winter/Spring 2022 Accreditation visit

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