Accreditation Questions

What is accreditation?
Accreditation is a peer review of the quality of an educational institution, college, school, or program. Students, parents, and governments rely on accreditation to determine if an institution or program provides students with a quality education. Video.

Why should I care if a school, college, or program is accredited?
Accreditation is an indication of quality. Accreditation could also determine financial aid eligibility and is often a criterion for the transfer of course credits. Program accreditation or approval may be required to enable graduates to sit for licensure/certification tests.
Institutional Accreditation
An institutional accrediting body examines the institution of higher education as a whole. Institutional accreditors are either regional or national accreditors.
What is Regional Accreditation?
Regional accreditation is a peer review process used to determine the quality of education at an institution within its geographic region. The regional accrediting bodies accredit approximately 3,000 higher education institutions and are recognized by the US Department of Education. There are six regional accrediting bodies and they are:

  1. Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools- Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  2. New England Association of Schools and Colleges- Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
  3. The Higher Learning Commission
  4. Southern Association of Colleges and Schools- Commission on Colleges
  5. Western Association of Schools and Colleges- Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
  6. Western Association of Schools and Colleges- Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities

The U.S. Department of Education has an intuitive Accreditation Database that can be used to review all the accredited institutions that are recognized by the Department of Education.

What is National Accreditation?
National accreditation is not generally based on geographic location, but rather faith-related or career-related. Not all national accreditors are recognized by the US Department of Education. For more information please see the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
What is Programmatic Accreditation
A programmatic accrediting body examines a particular program within institution of higher education. There are many programmatic accrediting bodies and it is important to research which programmatic accreditation is applicable to your particular area of study.