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What Are The Different Accreditations For Colleges

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What Are The Benefits Of College Accreditation

What is accreditation and why is it so important?

College accreditation helps prospective students and employers of graduates to evaluate the quality and scope of education offered for different degree programs at a particular school. In many countries, only accredited colleges are approved for federal and state student aid money, which most students need to pay for their educations. Fraudulent colleges that operate as “diploma mills” do not allow students to use federal financial aid and are not accredited, which helps students identify schools that offer a real education as opposed to simply selling a degree with little to no educational instruction.

Colleges in the United States undergo voluntary accreditation procedures from different accrediting organizations, including regional, faith-related, career-related, and program-specific accreditors. Most other countries have government-controlled accreditation processes that are often mandatory for schools offering degree and career programs. Accrediting organizations and governments have specific college accreditation requirements and standards schools must meet and maintain for them to keep their accreditation.

Accreditation And Transferring Credits

For students wishing to transfer from one school to another, most accredited institutions only accept credit from other accredited institutions. Courses taken at a school without accreditation will need to be repeated, costing more time and money.

Dont be fooled by the low costs of schools without accreditation. The long-term price of attending such an institution is much greater than the tuition of any accredited school. Schools go through the accreditation process to provide their students with a worthwhile education that will be recognized by employers and other schools. Its worth taking advantage of this.

Paying attention to the type of accreditation your school has is especially important if there is any chance you may want to transfer to a different school during your degree or study elsewhere for further qualification. If your first school is not accredited, then your new school is unlikely to accept the credits you have accumulated from your studies there. Even if it is accredited, it will need to be accredited by the same board as your new school if you want to be sure your credits will transfer. The best way to ensure you will be free to transfer credits is to attend only schools listed on the U.S. Department of Educations website.

How Are Colleges Accredited

Educational institutions are either regionally or nationally accredited. Accreditation is a voluntary process that ensures a college, university, or degree program meets a universal standard for quality. This gives an institution and its graduates credibility with other institutions and employers. Institutional accreditation is different from programmatic accreditation which is covered below.

Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. Department of Education does not accredit educational institutions and/or programs. However, the USDOE and the non-profit Council for Higher Education Accreditation oversee the accreditation process. They review the federally-recognized agencies that set accreditation standards.

Whether or not an institution offers degree programs online, on campus, or both, is irrelevant when it comes to accreditation. They answer to the same governing organizations that ensure students receive a quality education.

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What Authority Do Regional Accreditors Like Accjc Have To Impose Accreditation Standards On Institutions

The regional accreditors are given the authority to apply their Accreditation Standards by the member institutions that have voluntarily joined a regional association to improve educational quality.

The ACCJC and other regional accrediting bodies are also authorized to operate by the U.S. Department of Education through the Higher Education Opportunity Act. The USDE evaluates accrediting bodies every five years through a process called recognition. The USDE has several requirements that accrediting bodies must demonstrate they continuously meet, including integrity of the process, making the results of accreditation available to the public, and fairness in the even application of the Accreditation Standards to all institutions.

Accreditation from a U.S. Department of Education-recognized accreditor, such as the ACCJC, enables institutions to qualify for federal Title IV funds and other federal grants and contracts.

The Accreditation Standards of a recognized accrediting body such as the ACCJC are developed with some input from the Department of Education and Congress, which also asks each accreditor to encourage the active participation of all member institutions in a transparent and open process that assures educational quality.

How To Spot Fake Accreditation

Regional vs. National Accreditation: What It Means for ...

Several fake accrediting bodies exist, which are entities that lack recognition by the ED or CHEA. Many online colleges that fall under the description of “degree mills” or “diploma mills” claim to hold accreditation through fake agencies to try to boost their credibility. Enrolling in one of these schools presents problems with respect to financial aid opportunities, transfer options, and employment. Plus, if an unaccredited institution closes or simply fails to deliver what they promise, students are left without the education for which they paid. Students can verify the legitimacy of an accrediting agency through the ED or CHEA directly.

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Transnational Association Of Christian Colleges And Schools Accreditation Commission

The Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools Accreditation Commission is an example of a national institutional accreditation organization, and it sets standards and monitors member institutions like Christian universities, colleges and seminaries. TRACS helps to make sure that these schools keep pace with the national standards in areas like curricula development, faculty qualifications, finances and governance. The organization’s membership status with the American Council on Education helps to make sure that it keeps current with legislative changes related to education.

Regional And National Institutional Accrediting Agencies

The following regional and national accrediting agencies are recognized by the Secretary as reliable authorities concerning the quality of education or training offered by the institutions of higher education or higher education programs they accredit. Ed.Gov

Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges 1967/2011/S2016Scope of recognition: the accreditation of postsecondary, non-degree-granting institutions and degree-granting institutions in the United States, including those granting associate, baccalaureate and masters degrees, that are predominantly organized to educate students for occupational, trade and technical careers, and including institutions that offer programs via distance education.

Michale McComis, Executive Director2101 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 302Arlington, Virginia 22201

Distance Education Accrediting Commission1959/2012/S2017Scope of recognition: the accreditation of postsecondary institutions in the United States that offer degree and/or non-degree programs primarily by the distance or correspondence education method up to and including the professional doctoral degree, including those institutions that are specifically certified by the agency as accredited for Title IV purposes.Title IV Note: Only accredited institutions that are certified by the agency as accredited for Title IV purposes may use accreditation by this agency to establish eligibility of its degree and/or non-degree programs to participate in Title IV programs.

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Q Would You Provide Some Tips For Students When Evaluating Schools

It is important to do a cross-university comparison. Go to the accreditation site and see what other universities are accredited by the same body . One can learn much about the validity of accreditation when you see a range of schools that hold the same accreditation.

Also, donât be shy about looking into the âdetailsâ page of an institutionâs accreditation . Beyond simply holding an accreditation, the details page will tell you if there are/were any overriding particular concerns that the accrediting body had about a universityâs finances, quality of instruction, etc. Donât shy away from schools that may have those details â it is perfectly common for an accrediting body to ask for progress reports on particular items of interest to them. But when you start to see âwarnings,â pay close attention.

Do Online Classes Have Tests

Types of Accreditation: What’s the Difference?

Not all online classes have proctored exams. But if they do, online students may need to visit a local testing site, with an on-site proctor. They may also take virtually monitored exams online, where a proctor watches via webcam or where computer software detects cheating by checking the test-takers’ screens

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Plan Ahead For Transferring

According to recent data from The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, more than a third of college students transfer at least once within six years. Nearly 54 percent of students transferred from four-year institutions to two-year community colleges.

Changes in ones college plans are often unforeseen. Roughly 67 percent of college students graduate from the school they first started. Thus, the importance of choosing a regionally accredited institution right off the bat. Regionally accredited institutions typically accept credits from schools that hold similar credentials. Nationally accredited schools typically accept credits from other national institutions.

Enrolling in an accredited school can also make the difference between receiving financial aid and paying everything out of your own pocket. Schools accredited by the U.S. Department of Education provide financial aid to the many students who qualify for grants or loans. Non-accredited schools are not eligible to offer financial aid to their students.

Bringing It All Together

Now that you know more about the difference between regionally-accredited and nationally-accredited institutions, continue along the path to ignite your future. Drexel University, regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, has over 150 online degree and certificate programs with some that also hold programmatic accreditation, offers students an opportunity to learn from the best, and with the best. Discover our course offerings and let us help you achieve your goals.

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Why Does Accreditation Exist

In the United States, there is no federal regulation of higher education as it concerns academic quality and standards. Instead, each state maintains its own policies. Since many state governments only provide loose oversight, some schools may engage in dishonest practices and deliver low-quality education. Thus, independent accreditation bodies are a good way for prospective students to verify an institution’s educational merits.

Accreditations Memberships & Honor Societies


Accreditation is a process of peer review that constitutes the basis for assuring quality within an educational community. It is intended to engage the institution in self-assessment and self-regulation with the goal of strengthening and sustaining both quality and integrity. It ensures that an institution and its educational programs are worthy of public confidence.

Accreditation of programs and of institutions is an expression of that confidence by professional organizations that articulate standards of excellence. These standards ensure that the institution has a clear and relevant mission that guides its performance and effectiveness with a focus on student learning.

Mercy College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. The MSCHE is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation .

MSCHE Accreditation Phase: Accredited

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What Is The Purpose Of Regional Accreditation

Accreditation is a proven method for assuring that a higher education institution has the ability to offer a quality education to the men and women who will lead their communities in the future, and to improve that quality over time. By establishing high standards and then being externally evaluated against those standards, colleges and universities can provide a degree or certificate that students and the community can trust.

In achieving and maintaining its accreditation a higher education institution assures the public that the institution meets standards of quality, that the education earned there is of value to the student who earned it, and that employers, trade or profession-related licensing agencies and other colleges and universities can accept a students credential as legitimate.

Just as important, the process provides a means for an institution to continuously improve educational quality and grow to meet the changing needs of students and society. Internal evaluation is a critical part of the accreditation process and through the various phases of an accreditation process colleges and universities are able to build on strengths and improve weaknesses so that they offer a better education.

Check With The Us Department Of Education

Once you’ve identified which schools offer your desired major, visit the U.S. Department of Education’s website. Then, use their accreditation tool to search for each school you’re interested in attending. If a school is recognized by one of the seven regional accrediting agencies, you can find it on the U.S. Department of Education’s list. This shows that the school meets CHEA’s minimum requirements.

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Experts Weigh In On Accreditation

Dr. Pamela Gent serves as the Associate VP of Academic Affairs at Clarion University. Holding both a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. from Kent State University, Pam was a full professor of Special Education and served six years as Chair of the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitative Sciences at Clarion University.

Dr. Todd Pfannestiel is currently the interim provost and Vice-President for Academic Affairs at Clarion University, a regional public institution in northwest Pennsylvania. He previously served as Dean of the College of Arts, Education, and Sciences at Clarion, where he also taught as a professor of history.

New England Association Of Schools And Colleges Commission On Institutions Of Higher Education

College Accreditation Explained | College Terminology

There are six regional accreditation agencies that cover all U.S. higher education institutions. For example, New England is known for its outstanding colleges and universities like Harvard University, Brown University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale University. The regional agency that grants accreditation to these schools is the New England Association of Schools and Colleges . NEASC establishes standards and policies that hold member schools accountable for setting academic program goals, confirming resources needed to achieve those goals and measuring goal achievement. The organization excels at keeping track of changing trends in education, and its standards are updated to help schools to continuously improve.

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Why Check For Accreditation

Checking the accreditation status of the academic institution you plan to attend can help you ensure they offer a quality educational program. This can help you assess whether enrolling in the school can help you hone your skills, increase your knowledge and advance in your career. Attending an accredited school can also help you:


Transferring Between Regionally And Nationally

Over 27.2% of studentsroughly 1 in 4transfer to institutions outside of the state where they began their college journey. Some transfer while theyre still an undergraduate. Others decide to pursue a masters or doctoral degree at a different institution from where they earned their associates or bachelors degree.

If youre currently attending a regionally-accredited institution and planning to transfer, credits are easily transferred to other regionally-accredited institutions, even if your new institution is accredited by a different accrediting body than the one where you are currently enrolled. However, credits are often reviewed on a course-by-course basis or by a specific academic department to determine which credits will transfer.

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How Does Transferring Affect Financial Aid

As long as the institution they are attending is accredited, students are eligible to apply for federal financial aid. If an institution is not accredited, a student cannot receive federal financial aid. Switching from a nationally accredited to a regionally accredited institution has no effect on the amount of federal grants or loans a student may receive.

Institution-based financial aid are awarded at the discretion of each college or university and depends on the individuals need or eligibility.

How To Find Out If An Online School Is Accredited

Accredited Colleges Explained

Students interested in an online college or university should be particularly careful to make sure the school is accredited. Most online programs in the United States today are not degree mills and expect the same level of academic performance from their online and on-campus students. However, the risk remains and prospective students interested in a particular school or program should verify its accreditation status as soon as possible, even before applying. This is because there’s little point in completing an application, possibly paying an application fee and writing an admissions essay to a school that’s not accredited.

But how can a student know for sure? The following is the process by which prospective students can tell if a particular school is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency.

Most accredited educational institutions will have a link to their accreditation status on the bottom or corner of their front page. At the very least, it should be easily found through the website’s search function. If looking for programmatic accreditation, the prospective student will probably need to find the accreditation information on the specific program’s homepage.

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How Do I Know If A College Has Accreditation

If you are experiencing difficulty verifying the accreditation of a college, university, or educational institution, the U.S. Department of Educations Office of Postsecondary Education created a database which allows you to search for a specific college and/or program, or list of college accreditation statuses. Established in 2017, this searchable database is designed to incentivize colleges, universities, and educational institutions or programs to comply with the quality standards set out by accreditation organizations. This benefits the quality of the educational system as a whole. While the government doesnt accredit educational institutions or programs, it has been mandated to publish a list of accreditation statuses.

S Of The College Accreditation Process

  • Peer Review Once formal paperwork has been submitted to the accrediting agency, administrative and faculty peers conduct an intensive review of the prepared materials, the written report and the general workings of the college, university or institution seeking accreditation status.
  • Visit and Examination After the peer review has been completed, most accreditation organizations also send a team of professionals to visit the college, university or institution seeking accreditation status. This team is often made up of peers and members of the public who volunteer their time to ensure quality education standards are being met.
  • A Decision Is Reached After the previous steps are completed, the accreditation organization calls upon their commission to review the collected information and affirm or deny accreditation status for the college, university or institution under scrutiny.
  • Continuous Review By accepting accreditation status from a recognized accreditation organization, a college, university or other institution agrees to uphold the quality standards set by the accreditation organization. The accredited college, university or institution also agrees to periodically submit to an accreditation renewal review.
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