How Do Colleges & Universities Get Accredited?

How Do Colleges & Universities Get Accredited?

Checking for accreditation is the first step of analysis when considering a prospective university or college. In a diverse education system like India, it is essential to create a barometer of quality and infrastructure for all colleges and universities. Therefore, the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) have established administrative and academic competence standards that every institution of higher education must fulfill. The accreditation process evaluates the quality of education and a dedication to continuous improvement by the university or college. It ensures that the outcome is objective and unbiased.


Understanding the Process of Accreditation

NAAC accreditation process is designed to assess and accredit institutions that offer higher education or units thereof or specific programs. An institution of higher education must have records of at least two batches of students who graduated or have been in existence for six years to be eligible for accreditation.


  • The institution//university should be approved by MHRD/UGC. NAAC does not consider any unapproved off-campuses for Assessment and Accreditation.
  • The university should have students enrolled in full-time teaching programs and research programs on campus.
  • For universities or institutions of national importance, all duly established campuses within India are treated as a part of the university applying for accreditation.
  • NAAC does not entertain requests for accreditation of off-shore campuses.


  • This category includes autonomous colleges, constituent colleges, and colleges affiliated with universities recognized by the UGC as affiliating universities.
  • Colleges applying for accreditation should be affiliated with a university recognized by the UGC. If any college is a private or deemed university constituent, they may not apply for accreditation independently. Constituent colleges should apply along with the deemed university for accreditation.
  • Colleges applying for accreditation are not affiliated with any university but offer programs that Statutory Professional Regulatory Councils recognize. Also, these colleges should be recognized by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) or any other equivalent government body.
  • NAAC does not cover distance learning education units of HEIs for accreditation.


Subsequent Accreditation Cycles of Accredited Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)

  • Institutions that have received NAAC accreditation once but would like to improve their accredited status may apply for re-assessment after a minimum of one and before three years of accreditation. The eligibility of an HEI to apply for re-assessment is also subject to the fulfilment of certain other conditions specified by NAAC.
  • Accredited HEIs applying for subsequent accreditation cycles can submit their Institutional Information for Quality Assessment (IIQA) during the last six months of the validity period with their application.

Units of Assessment

  1. Institutional Accreditation:
    1. University with a central governance structure that runs all undergraduate and postgraduate departments.
    2. Any college or college-affiliated constituent or autonomous colleges with all their departments of studies.
  2. Department Accreditation: Any department, school or centre of studies in a university.
  3. Program Accreditation: An expert group has been constituted to work on program accreditation by NAAC. At the moment, NAAC does not accredit programs in educational institutions.


The NAAC Accreditation Process Step by Step:

The assessment and accreditation in higher education is a systematic and detail-oriented process. Here is a step-by-step explanation of the process followed by NAAC for higher education accreditation –

  1. Registration – 
    • All higher education institutions in India must register themselves on AISHE or All India Survey on Higher Education.
    • The institution has to upload all the required details on the AISHE portal for this registration.
    • After the registration, the institution is given an AISHE reference code.
    • Whenever an HEI applies for assessment and accreditation by NAAC, they have to submit their AISHE reference code.
    • NAAC verifies the registration through AISHE and sends login credentials to the HEI.
    • The HEI authorities must access the NAAC portal using the provided login credentials and submit the required documents to NAAC.
  2. IIQA Submission – 
    • Login to the NAAC portal and fill out the form for Institutional Information for Quality Assessment (IIQA)
    • Pay the IIQA fees online
    • Submit the documents required for IIQA in the prescribed format
    • Usually, the accreditation body validates the documents and communicates its decision within fifteen days from registration.
    • If the application is rejected, the HEI has two attempts to resubmit their IIQA form and documents within one year.
    • If the application for accreditation is approved, the HEI must proceed to SSR submission.
  3. Self-Study Report (SSR) Submission
    • Fill out the SSR form
    • Pay the SSR instalment fee online
    • Upload the data files (at least 50% student data) and documents in the prescribed format
    • Submit the form
    • NAAC verifies the student satisfaction survey or SSS process, DAV process, and bibliometric data
  4. Pre-qualification Evaluation through SSR Q n M by NAAC
  5. PTV Management Process
    PTV or the onsite peer visit by NAAC is the final step in the accreditation process. The committee declares the date of the visit within three weeks of receiving the SSR.


The assessment and accreditation process by NAAC is designed to enable consistent efforts to reach a certain quality of higher education across the Indian education system. All students wish to receive quality education and degrees from accredited universities recognized worldwide. If you are a higher education institution looking to navigate the process, you can manage the ranking and accreditation process with CollPoll. We can help you gain accreditation and recognition as an institution of higher learning by guiding you through the process of NAAC accreditation.

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