University of Saint Katherine WASC Accreditation Partnership

What is WASC accreditation?

Accrediting agencies are private organizations that work alongside federal and state governments to ensure that schools use best practices and deliver on promises to students and other stakeholders. Additionally, colleges and universities often base admissions and transfer credit decisions on institutions’ accreditation status. WASC SCUC is the main regional accrediting agency for the Western region of the United States.

Why does Hildegard College want WASC accreditation?

As we invite students to consider our one-of-a-kind college program, it is important to us that families know our courses are accredited and transfer-ready. We want our B.A. degree to be recognized by graduate schools and employers. 

Does WASC accreditation impact Hildegard’s commitment to avoid federal financial aid programs?

The student federal aid program (known as Title IV) trusts accreditors to help the government decide to which schools students can apply federally subsidized loans and grants. However, accreditation does not require schools to accept federal aid. In fact, many forward-thinking colleges and universities are intentionally declining federal funding. As many know, accepting government funds comes with strings attached. Hildegard College values its independence and will do nothing to compromise its students’ pursuit of what is good, true, and beautiful. 

Who is the University of Saint Katherine?

USK is a university in San Marcos, CA, that offers bachelors and masters degrees in the liberal arts and sciences. It is a Christian institution in the Orthodox tradition. USK values cross-disciplinary learning and incorporates it into its curriculum through an Integrated Core in philosophy, history, theology, rhetoric, and politics. 

Why is Hildegard College partnering with USK specifically?

USK is part of the alternative college movement. Founded in 2011, it sees a need, like Hildegard College, to reimagine Christian higher education around what is most important to students and to society. It is also an entrepreneurially minded school. USK’s interest in partnering with Hildegard College stems from a shared conviction that in order to help our brightest young people, we need new colleges with ambitious visions. 

What does USK provide to Hildegard College?

USK provides WASC accreditation via a federation model, similar to the many colleges that comprise the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Hildegard College students will learn exclusively in Hildegard’s unique community and curriculum. Graduates will receive a diploma from Hildegard College at the University of St. Katherine. 

Is Hildegard College still an independent institution?

Yes. Hildegard College is an autonomous nonprofit educational institution. We have our own mission, governing board, advisory board, faculty, staff, students, and campus. Our curriculum is also our own, and it is housed within the curricular structure of USK. USK students cannot enroll in Hildegard College classes outside of Hildegard’s admissions process.  

Which college is the degree-granting institution?

Both. For purposes of credentialing, Hildegard College is a college of the University of Saint Katherine. Student transcripts and diplomas will reflect that Hildegard is a college within USK’s federation of schools (e.g. “Hildegard College at University of Saint Katherine”).