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Serving the community of Ave Maria, Florida


AMU Closer to Regional Accreditation

Following is a news release from Ave Maria University on their recent visit by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


AVE MARIA, Fla. (January 28, 2010) - The Commission on Colleges (COC) of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) has completed its required site visit of Ave Maria University (AMU), as a part of the accreditation  process.  The COC will now generate a report from the visit, to which AMU will respond accordingly.  AMU is currently in candidacy with the commission.
"We are optimistic, and eager to meet all the set requirements as determined by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools," said Ave Maria University Chancellor, Thomas S. Monaghan.  "Attaining accreditation is certainly important to the university as an institution, but it is equally important for our students.  We were happy to host the review committee, and we look forward to the next steps in the process."
Ave Maria University President, Nicholas J. Healy, echoed Monaghan's sentiment about the importance of SACS accreditation, "Since the university's inception, accreditation has been at the forefront of our efforts," Healy said.  "The completion of the site visit is a vitally important step toward becoming an accredited institution, and we will continue our steadfast efforts to reach that goal."
For perspective, candidacy status is achieved after an institution of higher education completes the pre-accreditation process that includes the submission of an application; an independent third-party review by peer evaluators from COC-member institutions; and a subsequent positive review by the full COC.
AMU first applied to SACS for membership in August 2003, prior to its first year of operation.  The institution voluntarily withdrew the application when it decided to launch new master's and doctoral programs in theology, an action that constituted a substantive institutional change which is not allowed during the application process.  Reapplication was further deferred due to AMU's
official acquisition of the San Marcos, Nicaragua campus, which required additional revisions to the application process.  Subsequent to that acquisition, the university was free to reapply for accreditation as a larger and reconfigured international institution of higher education.  The revised application was submitted in May 2007 and updated in fall 2008.  Candidacy was awarded to the university by the Commission in December of 2008.
The current candidacy status covers both the parent campus in Ave Maria, Fla., and the branch campus in San Marcos, Nicaragua.  Originally founded in 1998 as a college in Ypsilanti, Mich., in 2002 the successor in mission was formed as Ave Maria University, and it became the first new university in the Catholic tradition started in the U.S. in 40 years. AMU has a total enrollment of more than 1,200 students (Florida campus, San Marcos campus and Institute for Pastoral Theology program) from across the nation and more than 25 countries.  Between the two campuses, the university features a broad range of undergraduate courses and programs ranging from the humanities to business administration. AMU also offers graduate degrees in theology at the master's and doctoral levels.
AMU is also accredited by the American Academy for Liberal Education (AALE), a status achieved in the summer of 2008.  AALE is a national accreditation agency for undergraduate liberal arts institutions and programs, and is authorized by the Secretary of Education to accredit institutions and approve their eligibility for participation in federal financial aid programs. Achieving the candidacy status with SACS enabled AMU to extend the federal financial assistance opportunities to its graduate students. The candidacy status with COC was awarded to AMU as a Level V institution, a classification that covers institutions offering undergraduate and three or fewer academic or professional doctoral programs.
AMU is a candidate for accreditation with the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award bachelor, master and doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4501 for questions about the status of AMU.
About Ave Maria University
Ave Maria University (AMU) was founded in 1998 as Ave Maria College in Ypsilanti, Mich., to provide a liberal arts education in the Catholic tradition.  In 2002 the college relocated to a temporary campus in Naples, Fla., and added graduate level programs, as it became Ave Maria University.  In 2007 the university relocated to its permanent campus in Ave Maria, Fla.  Founded on the principles of the apostolic document Ex Corde Ecclesiae, Ave Maria University is dedicated to the advancement of human culture, the promotion of dialogue between faith and reason, the formation of men and women in the intellectual and moral virtues of the Catholic faith, and the development of professional and pre-professional programs in response to local and societal needs.  The university has attracted students from 49 states and more than 25 foreign countries.
About The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
As stated in the Principles of Accreditation document, The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. The Commission's mission is (1) the enhancement of educational quality throughout the region and (2) the improvement of the effectiveness of institutions by ensuring that they meet standards established by the higher education community that address the needs of society and students. It serves as the common denominator of shared values and practices among the diverse institutions in Alabama, Florida,
Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Latin America that award associate, baccalaureate, master's or doctoral degrees. The Commission also accepts applications from other international institutions of higher education


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