The University of Maine System earned accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education at a meeting in Burlington, Massachusetts, on June 23. The accreditation takes effect Wednesday.

The commission’s decision to grant accreditation to the University of Maine System, as opposed to individual institutions, was based on a series of discussions with the U.S. Department of Education as well as a report by the UMaine System itself that, under the federal Higher Education Act of 2008, the system could be treated as an “institution of higher education.” The decision unifies the currently separate institutional accreditations of the public universities that together make up the University of Maine System, according to a press release issued by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

“Accrediting the system’s universities together will allow all of Maine’s public universities to be evaluated together based on how well they share state resources in meeting standards of accreditation that establish criteria for institutional quality and higher education effectiveness,” Diane Jones, principal deputy undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Education, said in the press release. “This innovative approach will reduce accreditation costs and improve accountability across an entire system.”

University of Maine System Board of Trustees Chair Jim Erwin said UMaine personnel have worked five years “to put our universities on a path to becoming more efficient and more responsive to Maine‚Äôs people and workforce needs.”

Dannel Malloy, UMaine System chancellor, said, “I look forward to leading Maine’s public universities in their work together to make our unified accreditation model a reality.”

 

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