Accreditation: Frequently Asked Questions
What Is College Accreditation?
Accreditation is a voluntary, independent review of
educational programs to determine that the education
provided is of uniform and sound quality. Being awarded
accreditation ensures that an institution has been evaluated
and that it met set standards of quality determined
by the accrediting organization granting the accreditation.
A college or university's accreditation is maintained
by continued adherence to the set criteria.
Why is College Accreditation Important? What
Type of Accreditation Should I Look For?
There are several reasons accreditation is important
besides ensurance of quality and adherence to academic
standards. Accreditation determines a school's eligibility
for participation in federal (Title IV) and state financial
aid programs. Proper accreditation is also important
for the acceptance and transfer of college credit, and
is a prerequisite for many graduate programs.
The most recognized and accepted type of accreditation
in the United States is regional accreditation.
Generally, college credits or degrees received at a
regionally accredited institution are accepted by other
regionally accredited colleges or universities (non-regionally
accredited programs are not as accepted). However, this
acceptance is not guaranteed; it remains with each institution
to establish its own policies based on the determination
that the credits accepted meet educational objectives
comparable to their own programs.
What Are the Regional Accreditation Agencies?
There are six geographic regions of the United States
with an agency that accredits college and university
higher education programs:
The Middle States
Association of Colleges and Schools.
Accreditation of colleges in the middle states region
(Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey,
New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico).
The New England Association
of Schools & Colleges.
Accreditation of colleges in the New England region
(Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode
The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Accreditation of colleges in the north central region
(Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana,
Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota,
Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, New Mexico, South Dakota,
Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming).
The Northwest Association
Of Schools And Colleges.
Accreditation of colleges in the north west region (Alaska,
Idaho, Utah, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.)
The Southern Association
of Colleges and Schools.
Accreditation of colleges in the southern region (Alabama
, Florida , Georgia , Kentucky , Louisiana , Mississippi
, North Carolina , South Carolina , Tennessee , Texas
The Western Association
of Schools and Colleges.
Accreditation of colleges in the western region.
It is often difficult to find a school's accreditation
when visiting their Web site or viewing their catalog
or other information. You can find out if the
college or university you are interested in is regionally
accredited by visiting the regional accrediting
board Web site for their area (above) and looking up
the institution name.