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HLC Areas of Concern

HLC Focused Visit 2020: Areas of Concern

In their final report removing Highlands University from probation, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) identified three areas of continuing concern, as listed below. The university will be expected to address these three areas of concern for the HLC Focused Visit that will take place in academic year 2019-20.

Core Component 4.C: “The institution demonstrates a commitment to educational improvement through ongoing attention to retention, persistence, and completion rates in its degree and certificate programs.”

  • Completion and implementation of a comprehensive Enrollment Management Plan. This plan should, at a minimum, identify target enrollments with supporting rationale for student population types (e.g., first-time, first-year students, transfer students, graduate students); mechanisms for recruiting students; and targets for retention, persistence, and completion rates for each student type.
  • Documentation of improvement in the collection and analysis of data on student retention, persistence, and completion, with consistency in data reporting. These data should include a comprehensive review of the 2017 retention, persistence, and completion goals.
  • Increased use of information to make improvements as warranted by the data on student retention, persistence, and completion. Evidence should be provided that demonstrates the use of the evaluation of the 2016 and 2017 retention, persistence, and completion goals for continuous improvement.

Core Component 5.A: “The institution’s resource base supports its current educational programs and its plans for maintaining and strengthening their quality in the future.”

  • Evidence of a reduction in the reliance on state funding to balance the institution’s budget.
  • Stabilization or growth in student enrollment through the identification of a clear strategy linked to metric-driven recruitment and student persistence goals.
  • Independent audits of the institution, the Foundation, and Isotopes that do not yield any findings or, at minimum, do not yield any repeat findings.
  • Continued year-end actual change in net assets at break-even levels or that yield surplus.

Core Component 5.D: “The institution works systematically to improve its performance.”

  • Evidence of the creation and implementation of policies related to new processes for the institutionalization of stakeholder agreements in all areas, including strategic planning and budgeting, student complaint management, the Office of Advancement, and Student Financial Aid administration.
  • An executive Strategic Plan Indicators update that includes outcomes that provide evidence that the institution is improving its institutional effectiveness, capabilities, and sustainability, both as a whole and in its component parts.
  • A unit and/or department strategic plan update that includes outcomes that provide evidence that the institution is improving its institutional effectiveness, capabilities, and sustainability, both as a whole and in its component parts.