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The institutional accreditation began in 2003, as a result of a pilot project carried out by the Comisión Nacional de Acreditación de Pregrado (CNAP) as an answer to the request, presented at the end of 2002 by the Ministerio de Educación, about beginning the development of experimental processes of accreditation in higher education institutions. This pilot project was part of the development of a bill called “National System of Quality Assurance in Higher Education”, known as Law of Quality Assurance in Higher Education Nº 20.129, at present.
The objective of the institutional accreditation is to guarantee publicly the extent to which higher education institutions can count on efficient processes for assuring the achievement of their purposes and objectives, and improve the quality of the services that they offer. Also, this goal looks for the promotion of permanent devices of quality self- regulation in the different institutional functions and in the core of the processes that lead to obtaining the expected accomplishments and results.
The accreditation is a voluntary process in which all the autonomous higher education institutions can participate and it considers, as minimal areas of evaluation, the institutional management and the teaching leading to a title offered by the institutions. These areas were chosen because they are essential for any higher education institution and they are the most relevant ones for the students and their families: how does the institution organize itself for meeting its goals and purposes and how does it manage the teaching and assure its quality? The Universidad de Santiago incorporated into this initiative, on a voluntary basis, in the second cycle of the pilot project.
The Universidad de Santiago obtained six years of accreditation in all the compulsory and optional areas: Teaching leading to a title, Institutional Strategic Management, Research, Graduate Teaching and Relationship with Society. The CNAP informed that the University will be accredited until 2014.
This committee points out that there are only five universities in the country with a complete accreditation process in the areas of Teaching leading to a title, Institutional Strategic Management, Research, Graduate Teaching and Relationship with Society. They are: Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, accredited for seven years; Universidad de Chile, accredited for seven years; Universidad de Concepción, for six years; Universidad de Santiago, for six years; and Universidad de La Frontera, accredited for five years.
The CNA said these institutions comply with a national or regional mission, depending on the circumstances, in a frame of excellence and with high levels of complexity in their academic work.
 The National Committee for Undergraduate Accreditation (Comisión Nacional de Acreditación de Pregrado , CNAP), created in March 1999 (Supreme Decree Nº 51/1999), in the frame of the development of activities related to the component of Quality Assurance of the Program for Improving the Quality and Equity in Higher Education (Aseguramiento de la Calidad del Programa de Mejoramiento de la Calidad y la Equidad de la Educación Superior , MECESUP), managed by the Ministerio de Educación with the support of the World Bank. Its functions are to lead experimental processes of careers and institutions’ accreditation, and to design and propose the national system of quality assurance in higher education.
 (2) This Law 20.129 constitutes formally a new National Committee for Undergraduate Accreditation (CNAP- Chile), that will be in charge of: the institutional accreditation of universities, professional institutes and autonomous centers of technical education; the authorization of careers and undergraduate programs accrediting agencies, master’s programs and programs with specialty in the area of health; accreditation of careers that do not have accrediting agencies for their area, and keeping systems of public information about the decisions of the Committee, among other functions.