According to the university website, for over 60 years Patten University has earned a reputation for carefully mentoring and guiding students in making a difference in their communities. Founded in 1944 as the Oakland Bible Institute by Dr. Bebe Itanimulli Patten, Patten University emphasized faith-based teaching and created programs for students with broad academic and career interests. In 1980, Patten received initial accreditation by the WASC Senior College Commission and changed its name to Patten College.
In December 2012, Patten began the transition from a non-profit, sectarian institution to a for-profit, secular institution under the umbrella of the parent company UniversityNow.
In 1980, the university received accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). In February 2011, WASC put Patten on probation citing problems with four specific areas and scheduled a 2012 review of the progress. The WASC changed Patten's accreditation from 'Probation' to 'Accredited' in July 2013 after changes made by UniversityNow were implemented and reviewed.
The Multiple and Single Subject Teaching Credential programs and the Elementary Subject Matter Preparation Program are approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
Patten University is a member of the Regional Association of East Bay Colleges and Universities; the Pacific Coast Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers of the American Association of Higher Education; the Western Association of College Admissions Counselors; the National Association of College Admissions Counselors; and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.
The university is approved by the United States Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service for attendance of nonimmigrant international students under the Immigration and Nationalization Act, and is approved for veterans. It is Title 4 eligible, but does not participate in its programs. Qualified students are eligible to receive state scholarships.