University of the Southwest is an accredited member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools with headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, one of the six regional agencies that evaluate educational institutions.  The accreditation process assesses such characteristics as governance and administration, financial stability, admissions and student personnel services, institutional resources, student academic achievement, institutional effectiveness, and relationships with constituencies outside the institution. This voluntary accreditation function has two fundamental purposes: quality assurance and institutional and program improvement.

The North Central Association's accrediting process for institutions of higher education is accomplished through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). USW was granted accreditation in 1980, and has maintained continuous accreditation. The next HLC Reaffirmation of Accreditation is scheduled in academic year 2023-2024.

The School of Education at University of the Southwest operates under the auspices of the New Mexico Public Education Department.

University of the Southwest is a member of the following organizations: