"In the United States, accreditation is voluntarily sought by institutions and is conferred by non-governmental bodies--membership organizations that accredit and thereby grant membership to educational institutions" (North Central Association, NCA).
In the United States, six peer professional groups are distributed geographically. In the upper Midwest area, the group is the North Central Association. Viterbo University has been an accredited member of NCA since 1954; it will be reviewed again in the fall of 2008.
The NCA does not credit individual programs. Viterbo University programs such as education, chemistry, and nursing are accredited by National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, American Chemical Society, and National League for Nursing. The NCA accredits the institution as a whole, verifying that Viterbo University has the wherewithal to offer whatever programs it proposes. And so, this accreditation does not look only at the university's academic programming, but also at the other aspects of university life--financial, administrative, and interpersonal. Because universities differ so much among themselves, NCA does not impose a single vision of what should happen on a college campus. Rather, NCA will measure Viterbo University against general criteria that apply to higher education as a whole.