The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools' activities date back to 1887 and are carried out by three Commissions, which work with institutions at different levels: the Commission on Higher Education, the Commission on Secondary Schools, and the Commission on Elementary Schools.

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is a "voluntary, non-governmental, membership association that is dedicated to quality assurance and improvement through accreditation via peer evaluation".

Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education: Requirements of Affiliation and Standards for Accreditation (PDF)