Higher Learning Commission reaffirms Northern State University’s accreditation

Campus pillars

ABERDEEN, S.D. – The Northern State University campus community is pleased to announce its successful reaffirmation of accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission.

The announcement comes after an extensive comprehensive evaluation by the Higher Learning Commission, Northern’s regional accrediting organization.

NSU Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies Director Dr. Joelle Lien said the university is thrilled with the HLC decision.

“The reaffirmation process gave us the opportunity to show all that Northern has to offer,” Lien said. “This is an exciting time at NSU, with new leadership in several areas, innovative curricular offerings coming forward, and new buildings under construction. The outcome of our comprehensive review by HLC affirms NSU’s positive forward momentum.”

This review affirmed that NSU is meeting the Criteria for Accreditation, pursuing institutional improvement and complying with requirements set by the U.S. Department of Education.

“This decision reflects the rigorous academic standards Northern prides itself on, and we couldn’t be happier about this outcome,” said NSU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Alan LaFave. “We’re also thankful to our students, alumni, faculty, staff and administration who came together to welcome the HLC team and assist with the entire reaffirmation process.”

Institutions must be accredited by a federally recognized accrediting agency to qualify for participation in federal financial aid programs that provide low cost loans to students. Attending a regionally accredited institution is an important consideration for students who might want to transfer credits to another institution or pursue admission to graduate programs later on.

“While this is excellent news for our university, ultimately this news benefits our students,” said NSU President Dr. Timothy Downs. “Northern strives to offer students the best college experience, with outstanding instruction and an enriching campus life. We’re pleased that those efforts have been recognized by the HLC.”

Northern’s next comprehensive review for HLC accreditation will take place during the 2026-27 academic year.

About Northern State University

NSU is a premier, residential, regional university characterized by outstanding instruction, extraordinary community relations and wide-ranging extracurricular opportunities. The university is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in the liberal arts and in graduate and professional studies. NSU has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 1918.

Northern currently serves over 3,500 students—on its safe, welcoming, picturesque campus in Aberdeen, S.D.; at off-campus sites including Huron Community Campus; and online. The university takes pride in its relationship with the community and the entire northeast South Dakota region. To learn more, visit NSU Admissions