Regional Accreditation


Cape Fear Community College was first accredited in 1971 by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees.  Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Cape Fear Community College.  Otherwise, the Commission is to be contacted only if there is evidence that appears to support an institution's significant non-compliance with a requirement or standard.


The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools is one of six private, nonprofit, regional accrediting associations recognized by the Department of Education. It was founded in 1895 for the purpose of improving education in colleges and schools. SACS is comprised of three commissions, one of which is the Commission on Colleges (COC). The COC accredits institutions of higher education in eleven southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia) and Latin America that award associate, Baccalaureate, masters or doctoral degrees.


Accreditation by the COC ensures to the public that an institution meets standards established by the higher education community, has a purpose appropriate to higher education and has the resources, programs and services sufficient to accomplish its purpose on a continuing basis. Accreditation evaluates whether an institution maintains clearly specified educational objectives consistent with its mission and whether it is successful in achieving its stated objectives. The Commission has been a leader in defining and implementing the concept of “institutional effectiveness” in higher education and is known for having the most stringent requirements.


The US Secretary of Education recognizes accreditation by the Commission on Colleges in establishing the eligibility of higher education institutions to participate in federal funding. Without accreditation status, Cape Fear Community College would not be eligible to receive any federal funding.


The Commission on Colleges accredits institutions based on requirements published in its Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement. The Principles of Accreditation is designed to guide institutions in all stages of membership, from application through initial accreditation and reaffirmation of accreditation. The process for initial and continued accreditation begins with an internal review by a college. At the culmination of the internal review, peers external to the college assess the institution’s compliance with the accreditation requirements and efforts to enhance the quality of its programs and services. Following the peer review, elected Commission on Colleges representatives makes the final determination of a college’s accreditation status.


Cape Fear Community College was last awarded reaffirmation of accreditation status by the Commission on Colleges December 2007.


For a copy of the Principles of Accreditation: Foundation for Quality Enhancement or for more information about the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges and accreditation, please visit the SACS web site at

Institutional Effectiveness Main Menu

Overview of 2007 Reaffirmation of Accrediation Process