NAAC: All You Need to Know About the Accreditation Process

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NAAC is the National Assessment and Accreditation Council, an autonomous body set up by UGC. Getting accreditation is a voluntary process on the part of higher education institutions (HEIs) to ensure quality in education through self and external assessment. Of the 39,000 HEIs in India, as of November 2018, 568 universities and 11,816 colleges have been accredited by NAAC. However, this accreditation is mandatory with a minimum ‘B’ Grade to get funds from the UGC for academic and research programmes.

Key Areas for Assessment

    • Curriculum
    • Teaching-learning mechanisms and evaluations
    • Infrastructure
    • Faculty qualification
    • Research and innovation
    • Student support and progression
    • Management organisational structure
  • Financial standards

All these require reports that take in data from a 5-year period. Compiling this manually can take more than 4 months, which is why most accredited institutions invest in an education ERP software that can generate NAAC reports in minutes rather than months. It helps institutions to keep themselves evaluated on the various key indicators and find out the areas where they need to improve outcomes.

Revised NAAC Guidelines

The NAAC has made revisions in its guidelines last year, which came into effect on 1st July 2018. Educational institutions of higher learning (universities and colleges) can apply for NAAC accreditation at any time in the year. Previously, it was restricted to two windows each year i.e. June/July or November/December. The other change is that institutions must submit an Annual Quality Assurance Report. The AQAR report must be submitted online on the NAAC website. The login ID for submission will be the e-mail ID that was used for IIQA i.e. the institutional information for quality assessment.

The Procedure for Assessment Towards Accreditation

Quality assurance in education follows a fixed set of procedures and a timeline for each step.

  1. The HEI will first upload the Self-study Report (SSR) on its own website.
  2. After this the institution will submit the Letter of Intent (LOI) on the NAAC site.
  3. Within 10 days of submission of LOI, the institution has to ensure that a demand draft towards registration fee reaches NAAC headquarters in Bangalore.
  4. NAAC will process the LOI and will revert to the institution with its decision within 15 days of receiving the letter.
  5. Once NAAC has accepted the LOI, the institution must submit within a week, the Institution Eligibility for Quality Assessment (IEQA) form
  6. Once the IEQA has been accepted, the Higher Educational Institution must submit the Self-study report within a period of 2 weeks.
  7. Once NAAC has received the SSR, it will inform the date when their team will visit for the assessment. This will fall within a 3-week period from date of receival of the SSR.

What needs to be included in a Letter of Intent (LOI)

The LOI is comparable to the pro-forma that an institution submits to the National Board of Accreditation (NBA). The information provided helps NAAC to make a preliminary evaluation if the institution has the eligibility to apply. The Letter of Intent is a downloadable form that must be accompanied with supporting documents when submitted. Since the LOI is submitted online, these documents must be in the PDF format.

Documents for Universities

  • If it is offering professional courses then the recent recognition letter from AICTE/NCTE/DCI etc.
  • UGC 12B recognition certificate
  • Grant certificate

Documents for colleges

  • Letter of affiliation from the parent university
  • UGC 12B recognition certificate
  • Grant certificate
  • For professional colleges, recognition letter from AICTE/NCTE/DCI
  • Letter from UGC regarding autonomy
  • Letter from UGC regarding Continual Professional Education (CPE)

The Self Study Report

The NAAC website has manuals for the self-study report for different types of institutions. The Self-study report follows a specific structure.

  • It has a cover letter from the head of the institution.
  • An executive summary that lays out the Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Constraints. Having identified these areas, evidence must be provided for contribution to core values and building on identified strengths. Actions to resolve the weaknesses identified as well as measures to improve on quality standards.
  • Profile of the Institution
  • Inputs from each department in the format provided.

The SSR should not exceed 200 pages and be printed on A4 size paper using Times New Roman 12 font and single line spacing. Pages should be printed on both sides in a book style format. Every contributor to the SSR must be kept fully informed so that they are prepared for an external team assessment.


NAAC has an A series and B series in its grades. “A series” university/colleges are understood to have superior credentials, facilities and deliver on a higher standard when it comes to academics, creating more confidence in new students.

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NAAC accreditation is for an institution on the whole and not like NBA which assesses programs or courses. The very first time an institution goes through this quality assessment it is called as cycle 1 and each consecutive 5-year period is called as cycle 2, 3 etc.

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