What is SACS?

SACS refers to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, sometimes referred to as SACSCOC. The organization headquarters are located at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097. Their website can be found here http://sacscoc.org/




The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states.  SACSCOC is one of only a few accrediting commissions that conducts a comprehensive review of its institutions every ten years.  Most accrediting agencies conduct such reviews every 5 to 7 years.  The U.S. Department of Education requires accrediting agencies that it recognizes to monitor its institutions more often to ensure that institutions having access to federal funds continue to meet accreditation standards.  To that end, the Commission has developed a Fifth-Year Interim Report. 

The Fifth-Year Interim Report has two components—Compliance Certification and the Quality Enhancement Plan Impact Report.  There are three main groups responsible for the development of the Fifth Year Interim Report:  Steering Committee; Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Impact Committee; and the Compliance Certification Team.  The Compliance Certification Team is comprised of 5 sub-committees focused on the 18 standards included in the report.

Accreditation by SACS Commission on Colleges signifies that the institution:  (1) has a mission appropriate to higher education; (2) has resources, programs, and services sufficient to accomplish and sustain that mission; and (3) maintains clearly specified educational objectives that are consistent with its mission and appropriate to the degrees it offers, and that indicate whether it is successful in achieving its stated objectives.  Piedmont Community College has been accredited by SACSCOC since 1977. 

SACSCOC adheres to the following fundamental characteristics of accreditation:

  • Participation in the accreditation process is voluntary and is an earned and renewable status.

  • Member institutions develop, amend, and approve accreditation requirements.

  • The process of accreditation is representative, responsive, and appropriate to the types of institutions accredited.

  • Accreditation is a form of self-regulation.

  • Accreditation requires institutional commitment and engagement.

  • Accreditation is based upon a peer review process.

  • Accreditation requires an institutional commitment to student learning and achievement.

  • Accreditation acknowledges an institution’s prerogative to articulate its mission, including a religious mission, within the recognized context of higher education and its responsibility to show that it is accomplishing its mission.

  • Accreditation requires institutional commitment to the concept of quality enhancement through continuous assessment and improvement.

  • Accreditation expects an institution to develop a balanced governing structure designed to promote institutional integrity, autonomy, and flexibility of operation.

  • Accreditation expects an institution to ensure that its programs are complemented by support structures and resources that allow for the total growth and development of its students.

    Source:  Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges’ website.

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