NAAC Accreditation for Higher Education – A Comprehensive Guide

NAAC Accreditation for Higher Education - A Comprehensive Guide
NAAC, the National Assessment and Accreditation Council, was established in September 1994 to assess the performance of higher education institutions in India and ensure that they meet the required standards. The University Grants Commission (UGC) has made NAAC certification mandatory for all universities and colleges that want to seek grants. The comprehensive NAAC accreditation includes all the tasks associated with evaluating and regulating the performance of higher learning institutions across the country. The motive is simple – encouraging education organizations to make the best of available resources, capabilities, and opportunities for continuous improvement.

What is NAAC?

NAAC is an autonomous body that came into vogue through the initiatives taken by the University Grants Commission (UGC). Its main duty is to assess and accredit all higher education institutions across the country with the unique Assessment and Accreditation (A&A) initiatives. The process involves a combination of quality evaluations, promotion, and sustenance initiatives to offer grades to higher education institutions. Did You Know - NAAC NAAC focuses on the overall development of students by providing them with a culture where they can hone their skills and gain knowledge through education. Institutions recognized by NAAC are known for offering quality education. Therefore, any college aiming to improve student learning outcomes must achieve NAAC accreditation.

What Are the Criteria of NAAC?

NAAC has grouped HEIs into University, Autonomous, and Affiliated/Constituent colleges. A critical focus of NAAC is getting a criteria-based assessment into the following seven areas of higher education.
  • Curricular Aspects
It is essential to follow criteria 1 and have a well-structured and relevant curriculum for providing students with all the necessary skills and knowledge, as well as answering questions about the future.
  • Teaching, Learning & Evaluation
This criterion is necessary to address the regular academic activities of the institution such as teaching-learning processes, student results, desired outcomes, evaluation and assessment practices, and more.
  • Extensions, Research, and Consultancy
There’s also the issue of academic research, extended consultancy services from the side of the institution to the industry and the field of study, and extension, which is the institution’s outreach to society. The institution should address various real-life problems, find solutions, and provide extracurricular activities to enhance the institution’s quality of life.
  • Infrastructure and Learning Resources
When working towards quality education, a good learning environment and the necessary facilities are important. Institutions should comply with criteria 4 to assess the physical academic facilities and support system. To guarantee higher educational quality in an institution, it is vital to have modern classrooms, laboratories, fitness, and medical facilities, technology, and sufficient reference materials.
  • Student Support and Progression
The major field of focus is to ensure proper participation of students in academics, and students’ support for the side of the institution. Mentoring and providing guidance for the students in various aspects of education and guiding them well contributes to the overall quality of education. Taking into account how the institution facilitates the progression of students to higher educational levels and/or employment is also very important when working on this criterion.
  • Governance, Leadership, and Management
Governance and management are the backbones of higher education institutions. Having a well-structured governing and management body helps to address gaps in practices, and efficiently implement proper counter mechanisms on time. Assurance of internal quality, faculty empowerment, financial resource management, and strategy development is all tied to this criterion.
  • Institutional Values & Best Practices
Institutions must follow this criterion to assess factors like – the approach of the institution towards a greener & eco-friendly campus, innovative ideas implemented in the institution, energy conservation practices, and steps taken towards a common, better future.

Step by Step Guide for NAAC Accreditation

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 installment 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 Quantitative Metrics (QnM) 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.

NAAC Grading System

NAAC accredited institutions enjoy credibility and a reputation of being quality education institutions. State universities find NAAC accreditation useful when applying for UGC grants and financial aid. NAAC has designed an intricate assessment criterion and a grading system to assess and accredit universities, colleges, and other institutions of higher education. Here’s a look at the NAAC grading system and how it is calculated –

A. The Criterion for Grading:

  1. The Peer Team Report – A qualitative report prepared upon the peer team visit. The peer team members are expected to write this report in about 300-500 words. Moreover, the team is expected to give out a score on Qualitative Metrics (Q1M) that are assigned from 0 to 4 (0/1/2/3/4) – without fractions
  2. Institutional Grading – A quantitative report based on the seven criteria of NAAC accreditation.
Apart from the above, the NAAC grading system also considers the institutional CGPA and letter grade. The CGPA, or the cumulative grade point average, is the institution’s score in the assessment process. The letter grade is a consolidation of the quality levels exhibited by the institution, the performance descriptor, and accreditation status. Did You Know - NAAC

B. Calculation of the Institutional CGPA:

The institutional cumulative grade point average is calculated based on the scores obtained by the higher education institution from the following sources –
  • System Generated Scores (SGS) of the quantitative metrics. SGS holds 70% of the total weightage in the calculation.
  • Scores from the qualitative assessment.
  • Critical appraisal by the peer team during the onsite visit
  • Scores obtained in the student satisfaction survey
The scores are collated through an automated procedure based on ‘benchmarks’ and assessed on a five-point scale.

C. The Final Grade

The final grade awarded to an institution is on a seven-point scale. It is based on the CGPA and other qualitative factors as outlined above. The seven-point scale is aligned with seven-letter grades that indicate the status of the higher education institution.
Final CGPA Range Letter Grade Status
3.51-4.00 A++ Accredited
3.26-3.50 A+ Accredited
3.01-3.25 A Accredited
2.76-3.00 B++ Accredited
2.51-2.75 B+ Accredited
2.01-2.50 B Accredited
1.51-2.00 C Accredited
≤ 1.50 D

Not Accredited


Tips to Improve NAAC Ranking

HEIs need to gather data for the last 5 years and create a detailed report, which can be tedious and time-consuming. If you go by every single indicator to attain the desired score, the process can be lengthy. Hence, it’s better to slim-cut them. We have summed up a few tips to help you improve your NAAC ranking:
  • Get Each Program Accredited

Education courses are the foundation on which an institution is built. Therefore, before getting NAAC accreditation for your institution, prefer getting individual programs NBA accredited. This will add credibility to your institution and you can demonstrate OBE competency, which is one of the highest-scoring NAAC requirements.
  • Prepare in Advance

You can’t prepare for NAAC ranking in a day or month or year. It’s a continuous process where you have to work on academics, funding, infrastructure, research, and more. The IQAC and steering committee get a minimum of two years of preparatory time from the governing body of the institute to achieve the set standards of readiness to face NAAC.
  • Involve HODs and Heads

NAAC accreditation not just involves the IQAC and the Steering Committee but the entire leadership unit. When department and institution heads – Director, Vice-Chancellor, Deans, and HODs, are a part of the process, it ensures more commitment, preparedness, and clarity. Keep them motivated so they can handle the pressure better!
  • Adopt Digital Campus Platform

The ease of operations and availability of entire academic and non-academic activities on a single online platform boosts student engagement, reduces the workload for staff and administrators, and enhances user experience. Thus, it is critical for higher education institutions that are yet not accustomed to using technology daily to adopt one and provide a smart digital experience. Did You Know - NAAC
  • Never Ignore the SSR

What makes NAAC more complicated is submitting a Self-Study Report (SSR), a data-driven document that demands a high level of data accuracy on DVV metrics, extended profile, IIQA, and basic data. Well, you must be meticulous while working on different competencies under each head.
  • Study High-scoring Metrics

Investing enough time to understand additional high-scoring metrics will help you make the best of them and ensure you don’t miss any of them. To score maximum, focus on nine qualitative metrics, which include academic flexibility, evaluation process & reforms, teacher profile & quality, extension activities, research publications & awards, student satisfaction survey, student support, student progression, and best practices.
  • Opt-out of the Lowest-scoring Metrics

Along with the high-scoring qualitative metrics, pay attention to other parameters as well that score 20% or more of the total weightage. Analyze NAAC metrics carefully and ignore the ones that are 5% or below or those that involve a lot of time and data.
  • Do Some Serious Thinking

Lastly, there are a few qualitative metrics that require critical thinking but add up to 30% of the total NAAC score. Focusing on these criteria and getting them right can improve your ranking significantly.

How to Become a NAAC Accredited College/University?

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.

A. Universities:

  • 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.
NAAC Accreditation Process for Higher Education Institutions

B. Colleges:

  • 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.

C. 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 fulfillment 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.

D. Units of Assessment:

  1. Institutional Accreditation:
    • University with a central governance structure that runs all undergraduate and postgraduate departments.
    • Any college or college-affiliated constituent or autonomous colleges with all their departments of studies.
  2. Department Accreditation: Any department, school, or center 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.

How to Apply for NAAC Accreditation?

The higher education institutions applying for the Assessment and Accreditation review process should have a thorough understanding of the entire application process. You can also reach out to NAAC’s official website which explains the registration process with a step-by-step flowchart. Remember to be aware of the two window systems accepting the applications at two different points in the year, i.e., May 1st – June 30th & November 1st – December 31st; and check the eligibility through the Institutional Information for Quality Assessment (IIQA), online. 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.

Getting NAAC Accreditation is Easy with CollPoll!

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. Get a Personalised Demo of CollPoll to know more!

Seamlessly Manage NAAC Accreditation with CollPoll !

If you are a higher education institution looking to navigate the process, we can help by easily managing and guiding you through the process of NAAC accreditation. Reach out to know more