New Mexico State University (NMSU), founded in 1888,  is a public four year land grant institution of higher education  accredited by the Higher Learning Commission  (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The HLC is an institutional  accrediting agency recognized by the US Department of Education. Accreditation is an evaluation process ensuring the quality of an institution’s academic programs, operations, and support services.  Many departments and programs have also earned special accreditations and recognition.