The University of Nevada, Reno is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. NWCCU is an independent, non-profit membership organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the regional authority on educational quality and institutional effectiveness of higher education institutions in the seven-state Northwest region of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.
At its website, NWCCU defines accreditation as a voluntary, non-governmental, self-regulatory process of quality assurance and institutional improvement. It recognizes higher education institutions for performance, integrity, and quality to merit the confidence of the educational community and the public. Further, accreditation or pre-accreditation by a post-secondary regional accrediting agency qualifies institutions and enrolled students for access to federal funds to support teaching, research and student financial aid.
The university is required to examine its mission, goals, operations, and achievements as these relate to the five standards of NWCCU. The schedule for examination is as follows:
Rather than the former 10-year cycle where a comprehensive institutional self-study report was prepared, there is now a continuous and cumulative seven-year accreditation process of self-reflection and peer evaluation. This cycle requires more focused reports and peer evaluation and recommendations from the NWCCU Board of Commissioners, with each step of the cycle building on previous findings and recommendations.