Accreditation is a cooperative system of certification and quality assurance wherein communities of academics establish criteria (or standards) which define accepted practice and then hold one another accountable to the criteria. Institutions are accredited as a whole by institutional accrediting agencies. Some individual academic programs are also accredited through programmatic accrediting agencies. Accrediting agencies are not governmental entities, but rather voluntary, cooperative associations of schools and scholars. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation's website offers a more in-depth introduction to accreditation.

Accreditation provides the prestige of national recognition and the assurance of quality for students, parents and other members of the community. The institution benefits as well from the self-reflection, self-improvement, and peer counsel that are part of the accreditation process.

The federal government enters the accreditation picture not through direct oversight, but through financial aid. To ensure that federal financial aid is well spent, the U.S. Department of Education provides financial aid only to students of accredited institutions. The USDOE thus recognizes and validates the work of the accrediting agencies in the peer review process, but also exerts influence on accrediting agencies and accredited institutions through financial aid regulations.

Indiana Wesleyan University is accredited as a whole by the Higher Learning Commission, one of the oldest institutional accrediting agencies, founded in 1895. Many of our academic programs are accredited by appropriate programmatic accreditors, as noted below under Programmatic Accreditations.

In addition to accreditations, Indiana Wesleyan University is affiliated with a number of communities and associations that provide connections for cooperation and accountability.