UC Merced officials say the school has earned its initial accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
An e-mail announcement sent from campus officials called the development "a significant milestone" for the campus, which is in its sixth year of operation.
The WASC commission has granted UC Merced an initial accreditation of seven years -- the maximum time frame allowed. The university said the process was successfully accomplished in the shortest amount of time possible under WASC's Standards of Accreditation.
In its notification letter to the campus, the WASC commission lauded UC Merced's efforts to "diligently balance its commitment to becoming a first-rate research institution with its commitment to serve students and the region."
Gaining accreditation was an extensive, six-year process that required several site visits to campus and the submission of comprehensive reports, including a Capacity and Preparatory Review and an Educational Effectiveness Review.
The commission specifically highlighted UC Merced's strong relationship with the UC Office of the President and the financial support UCOP has offered the campus to fund enrollment growth through 2013.
According to WASC's website, the accreditation process is aimed at:
1. Assuring the educational community, the general public, and other organizations and agencies that an accredited institution has demonstrated it meets the commission's core commitments to institutional capacity and educational effectiveness and has been successfully reviewed under commission standards.
2. Promoting deep institutional engagement with issues of educational effectiveness and student learning, and developing and sharing good practices in assessing and improving the teaching and learning process.
3. Developing and applying standards to review and improve educational quality and institutional performance, and validating these standards and revising them through ongoing research and feedback.
WASC was formed in 1962 to promote the welfare, interests, and development of education in the western region, according to the commission's website.
For more information, visit www.wascsenior.org.