The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is an independent corporation that was founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. HLC’s mission is to advance the common good through quality assurance of higher education as the leader in equitable, transformative, and trusted accreditation in the service of students and member institutions.

NEOMED was first accredited by the HLC in 1998 and currently participates in the Open Pathway 10-Year Cycle described below. The Open Pathway allows NEOMED to innovatively address institutional goals, while also reaffirming our mission — an institution focused on student success and quality education.

NEW: Download our 2022 HLC Assurance Argument

NEW: Visit schedule

Video: Ready, Set, Accredit

With Richard Kasmer, Pharm.D., J.D., dean, College of Pharmacy and vice president of academic affairs


Validation of Quality

Institutional accreditation validates the quality of an institution and evaluates multiple aspects of an institution ranging from its academic offerings, governance and administration, mission, finances, and resources. Institutional accreditation encompasses the institution as a whole, a whole, including all academic programs, all degree levels and both onsite and online course delivery. [Source: HLC site.]

Accreditation ensures:

  • Eligibility for grants and external funding
  • Articulation of academic credit to and from Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED)
  • Quality education and business practices
  • Qualified students are eligible to receive federal and other forms of student financial aid
  • Continuous improvement processes for students and all stakeholders, including the community
  • Legitimacy of NEOMED as a reputable institution of higher education; and
  • Enhancement of the employability of NEOMED alumni

The HLC Open Pathway

The Open Pathway is one of two options institutions have for maintaining their accreditation with HLC. It encompasses a 10-year cycle and, like all pathways, is focused on quality assurance and institutional improvement.

The Open Pathway is unique in that its improvement component, the Quality Initiative, affords institutions the opportunity to pursue improvement projects that meet their current needs and aspirations. Learn more about the Open Accreditation Pathway in the next section.

NEOMED was last visited by the HLC for comprehensive evaluation in 2013. Following that date are a series of events that have occurred as follows:

Years 1-3: Prepare Assurance Filing
NEOMED gathers documents for its Evidence File and writers the four-year Assurance Argument for the Assurance Review

Year 4: Assurance Review
HLC institutions are required to undergo assurance review to ensure that they are meeting the Criteria for Accreditation.

Years 5-9: Quality Initiative Proposal and Report
NEOMED proposes and completes a Quality Initiative suited for its needs and objectives. The purpose of the initiative is to increase the ability of NEOMED to meet its mission. In the current cycle, NEOMED’s Quality Initiative was titled, “Collaboration between two state universities for expansion of distance education programs.”

Year 10: Comprehensive Evaluation and Site Visit for Reaffirmation of Accreditation
HLC conducts a full comprehensive accreditation evaluation. This includes a Federal Compliance Review, a review of the university’s Assurance Argument, a Student Opinion Survey, and a site visit from peer reviewers. This evaluation is designed to ensure that NEOMED meets HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation, follows U.S. Department of Education requirements, and pursues continuous improvement. NEOMED’s next visit for reaffirmation is scheduled for September 12-13, 2022.

Assurance Argument

The Assurance Argument is an opportunity for NEOMED to conduct a self-study to evaluate its ongoing compliance with accreditation criteria and to tell our story. The format of Assurance Filing is defined by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

The institution prepares an Assurance Argument and Evidence File as part of its Assurance Filing. Both of these pieces must be completed in the online Assurance System before the review is scheduled to begin. In the Assurance Argument, the institution demonstrates how it meets each Criterion and Core Component. For each Criterion, the institution offers:

  • An articulation of how each Core Component within the Criterion is met.
  • A summary statement regarding any additional ways in which the institution fulfills the Criterion that are not otherwise covered in the statements on the Core Components.
  • Links to materials in the institution’s Evidence File for each claim or argument made.
Federal Compliance Filing

As part of the reaffirmation of accreditation process, HLC will review NEOMED’s compliance with federal requirements — specifically:

  1. Assignment of credits, program length and tuition
  2. Institutional records of student complaints
  3. Publication of transfer policies
  4. Practices for verification of student identity (online)
  5. Publication of student outcomes data
  6. Standing with state and other accrediting agencies

The Federal Compliance reviewer will determine how accurately NEOMED meets applicable federal requirements. If needed and/or if the team of reviewers has concerns, NEOMED may be required to submit additional follow-up documentation.

Quality Initiative

The institution submits a proposal for a Quality Initiative project to be completed in Years 7–9.

NEOMED’s quality initiative was titled, “Collaboration between two state universities for expansion of distance education programs” and created a shared services agreement with Kent State University to respond to the learning needs of students in the NEOMED Health Systems Pharmacy Administration Program (HSPA) by offering all courses online in a high quality and cost-effective way.

NEOMED’s final quality initiative report was submitted to the HLC in May 2021 and approved in June 2021. See the letter of approval.

Student Opinion Survey

The HLC will survey NEOMED students in Spring 2022. The purpose of the survey is to provide the HLC peer reviewers who will visit NEOMED with baseline information to help them formulate questions for meeting with faculty, staff, and students during the visit.

The results will be aggregated and provided to NEOMED prior to the visit.

The survey is intended to provide students with an opportunity to participate in the accreditation process and to inform the peer review team.

Site Visit by HLC Peer Review Team

A site team of peer reviewers will be at NEOMED on Sept. 12-13, 2022, to complete a comprehensive evaluation.

A series of meetings with faculty, staff and students will be completed to review the 5 Core Criteria.

A report will be prepared that summarizes the findings and follow-up materials may be requested.

The results will be presented to the HLC Board in January 2023 and a final decision on NEOMED’s accreditation status will be available shortly thereafter.

College of Medicine

The College of Medicine’s Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree program is fully accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). Details can be found on the College of Medicine LCME website.

College of Pharmacy

The College of Pharmacy’s Doctor of Pharmacy degree program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). View the accreditation certificate.

Master of Public Health Program

NEOMED’s Master of Public Health program is fully accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH)


NEOMED’s Master of Medical Science in Anesthesia program began in January 2022 and is now fully accredited by the Accreditation Review Committee for the Anesthesiologist Assistant (ARC-AA) of the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

Continuing Medical Education

NEOMED’s Office of Continuing Professional Education has been fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) since 1983, and was awarded Accreditation with Commendation in 2012. This status is awarded to less than a quarter of those who apply.

State Authorization (NC-SARA)

NEOMED is approved to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) to offer postsecondary distance education courses and programs. See more about NC-SARA.

May 15, 2021, Finalize Project Plan for Comprehensive Evaluation

May 20, 2021, Quality Initiative Approved by HLC

August 1, 2021, Formal Project Kick Off

Sept. 1, 2021, Launch Steering Committee

Sept. 1, 2021, Launch Criterion Subcommittees

Feb. 15, 2022, First Draft of Assurance Argument

March 15, 2022, Steering Committee Identifies Gaps and Recommends Corrective Action

April 1, 2022, Student Opinion Survey conducted

June 1, 2022, Update to NEOMED Board of Trustees

July 15, 2022, Feedback from External Reviewer on Assurance Argument

August 15, 2022, NEOMED Assurance Argument Locked (submitted)

Sept. 1, 2022, Mock Site Visit

Sept. 12-13, 2022, On-site Visit by HLC Peer Review Team

CHAIR: Jeff Wenstrup, Ph.D., Professor, Anatomy and Neurobiology

Julie Aultman, Ph.D., Interim Dean, College of Graduate Studies

Seth Brownlee, Pharm.D., Sr. Associate Dean for Program Quality and Student Success, COP

Andre Burton, J.D., Vice President, Human Resources and Diversity

Jordan Cinderich, M.Ed., Process Engineer

Sandra Emerick, Ed.D., Sr. Exec. Dir., Academic Affairs and Student Services

Patrick Gallegos, Pharm.D., Chair, University Faculty Council

Allison Hawkes, M.D., Director, Accreditation, College of Medicine

Roderick Ingram Sr., M.B.A., Vice President, Communication and Chief Marketing Officer

Deborah Loyet, M.S., M.A., HLC Liaison Officer

Lacey Madison, M.B.A., Vice President for Strategy and Transformation

Eugene Mowad, M.D., Interim Dean, College of Medicine

Michelle Mulhern, M.P.A., Chief of Staff and Secretary, Board of Trustees

Moses Oyewumi, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Maria Schimer, Esq., General Counsel

Mary Taylor, M.Tax., C.P.A., Vice President, Finance and Operations

Joshua Tidd, M3, Student Trustee

Higher Learning Commission

230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500 Chicago, IL 60604
HLC website


Richard Kasmer, Pharm.D., J.D.
Vice President, Academic Affairs

Deborah Loyet, M.S., M.A.
Executive Director, Institutional Research
HLC Accreditation Liaison Officer

Student Complaints

Information related to student complaints is available on the HLC site.
Complaint Process | Student Resources