SAN LUIS OBISPO – Cuesta College’s accreditation has been reaffirmed by the Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

“The reaffirmation of accreditation provides assurance to our students and community of the quality education and commitment to institutional effectiveness at Cuesta College,” said Dr. Jill Stearns, Superintendent / President. “I am proud to have this external validation of our institution and appreciate the faculty, classified professionals, and campus leaders that make Cuesta College a place where students thrive.”

The ACCJC is an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council of Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education. Member Institutions participate in a self-evaluation and peer review on a regular cycle to provide assurance of quality education, promote effectiveness and continuous quality improvement, and maintain the quality of higher education in California and the United States.

Cuesta College’s previous ACCJC team visit occurred in Fall 2014, in which members visited classrooms, examined processes, and investigated college operations. As a result of that visit, Cuesta’s accreditation was reaffirmed through 2020.

Getting through this together, Atascadero

Last fall semester, Cuesta College hosted a team of 11 faculty and administrators from peer colleges for a virtual accreditation site visit from Sept. 28 through Oct. 1. The visit was based around the Institutional Self-Evaluation Report (ISER), which provides evidence of the College’s effectiveness, quality of education, and continuous quality improvement.

At its meeting in January, the ACCJC reviewed the ISER and evidence submitted by Cuesta College and the Peer Review Team Report prepared by the visiting team. Upon reviewing and considering these materials, the Commission acted to reaffirm Cuesta College’s accreditation for seven years.

“This is great news for our College, and I want to thank everyone at Cuesta for their hard work and dedication,” said Dr. Jason Curtis, Vice President of Instruction and Accreditation Liaison Officer. “We had great stories to tell and ample evidence to share of how we meet the ACCJC Standards.”

While the team report indicates some areas in which Cuesta could continue to improve, it provides no formal recommendations around compliance or institutional effectiveness. The report also commended Cuesta College for its commitment to increasing success for all students with the full implementation of Guided Pathways and AB 705, two statewide initiatives which “require significant changes to how California Community Colleges have served students, not only in terms of how the College onboards students, but also how effectively they help them progress through their academic programs.”

The next report from Cuesta College will be the midterm report due on Oct. 15, 2024 and the next comprehensive review will occur in Fall 2027. Please visit Cuesta College’s accreditation webpage for more information on accreditation.