Office of Institutional Effectiveness
Frequently Asked Questions about Accreditation
- What is accreditation?
- Why should I care if a school, college, or program is accredited?
- Institutional Accreditation
- What is Regional Accreditation?
- What is National Accreditation?
- What is Programmatic Accreditation?
- What is the difference in the types of accreditation?
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.
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.
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:
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools- Middle States Commission on Higher Education
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges- Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools- The Higher Learning Commission
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools- Commission on Colleges
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges- Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges- Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities
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 http://www.chea.org/Directories/index.asp
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.
What is the difference in the types of accreditation?