About MSA

February, 1887 - Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - Pioneering college presidents from Pennsylvania's prestigious institutions met to protest a proposed tax on college properties. The heated, passionate discourse led to a consensus that education in the United States - kindergarten through college - was in a state of chaos.

The college presidents took immediate action and chartered the College Association of Pennsylvania, which was soon renamed the Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools of the Middle States and Maryland.

Those were the early years of what today is the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.


The Middle States Pioneering Spirit is Alive and Well Today

Inspired by our founders, Middle States Association continues to forge a path to excellence to improve the educational opportunities for students worldwide. The MSA accreditation process challenges schools and school systems to meet and exceed uniform world-class standards, while reflecting the distinctive cultures of their institutions and school communities, from the rural United States to a bustling Middle Eastern city.

Middle States Accreditation is a valuable, coveted achievement among traditional and nontraditional schools as well as a wide variety of emerging educational programs including:
  • Colleges and universities
  • Community Colleges
  • Public, private, parochial and charter K-12 schools and school systems
  • Online/distance learning programs
  • Learning & Tutoring Centers
  • Technical and Vocational schools
  • Preschools (Early Age Education)

Three Commissions - One Mission

The Middle States Association's ultimate and enduring mission to provide the highest quality accreditation through peer evaluation was implemented in 1919 and 1921 with the establishment of the Commission on Higher Education (MSA-CHE) and the Commission on Secondary Schools (MSA-CSS), respectively.

Initially, only four-year colleges, universities and traditional high schools were considered for Middle States Accreditation. In the 1970s, in response to the emerging interest in accreditation for elementary schools, the MSA Board of Trustees unanimously voted to form a third accreditation commission, the Commission on Elementary Schools (MSA-CES).