Quality Control & College Accreditation
You’ve heard the phrase before—accredited university—but what does it mean? Well, for starters, an accredited university meets the standards of a federally recognized accrediting agency. These agencies help ensure that the schools stay on track: competitive curriculum, course requirements, and the academic credentials of instructors within the institution are reviewed during the accreditation process. This form of quality control ensures that institutions for post-secondary education in the U.S. consistently enforce rigorous academic standards and produce qualified graduates.
During your college search, you will probably come across a handful of institutions that are not accredited. This typically means one of two things: the university chose to remain non-accredited, or that the institution didn’t meet the standards of the accrediting agency—either way, not the best sign. Legitimate, high-quality, and non-accredited universities do exist, but they are few and far between.
As degree mills (virtual, non-accredited universities) increase in number, accreditation becomes more important—especially for students choosing a distance learning program. Make sure that the education you have paid for will count; find out if college you are planning to attend has been accredited by an agency approved by the U.S. Secretary of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Interested in finding out if your college is accredited?
Find out what agency has accredited your universityThis should be fairly easy to do. If the college website has on site search, simply type in "accreditation" and the search should highlight any web pages that contain information on this subject. For websites without an on site search the information can sometimes be found at the bottom of the home page or in an "about us" section. If you cannot find information on a school’s website verifying that they are accredited, call the admissions office and request more information.
Check the legitimacy of the accreditation agency usedIf the college does not specify that it has been accredited by a CHEA or U.S. Secretary of Education recognized agency, you will need to dig further. Visit the CHEA.org or Ed.gov and verify that the accrediting agency is listed in either of their databases. Both of these websites offer a free search service so that you can access information about accredited institutions in the U.S. These are the two primary resources.
Exercise reasonable caution & common senseParticularly if the "accredited" college that you have found sells diplomas or offers students an opportunity to earn an advanced degree based on a short essay about their life experience. If the degree offered seems too easy to obtain, that’s because it is. Degree mills are known for claiming that they are "accredited" universities in an attempt to convince students that the degree they purchase will be recognized by an employer. Employers never intentionally recognize diplomas from degree mills, though they are occasionally fooled by them.
- Benefits of Online Degree Universities
- Don't Be Fooled By Cheap Imitations - Exploring Degree Mills
- Education Solutions for Non-Traditional Students
- Finding an Accredited Distance Learning Program
- How to Compare Distance Learning Colleges - Finding the Best Online Degree Program
- Make The Right College Choice For The Right Reasons
- Quality Control & College Accreditation
- Questions To Ask Yourself When Choosing A College
- The Pros & Cons of Community Colleges
- The Pros & Cons Of Private Colleges
- The Pros & Cons Of State Universities
Latest College & Financial Aid News
February 9, 2016
by Susan DutcaSome 200 years ago, attending Harvard may have cost roughly $600.50 a year ($8,371 if you adjust for inflation) in comparison to today's cost of attendance of up to $69,600, according to Greg Daugherty. College Board reports the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2015-2016 school year was $32,405 at private colleges, $9,410 for state residents at public colleges, and $23,893 for [...]
February 4, 2016
by Susan DutcaWhat makes February so lovely? It is Financial Aid Awareness Month, and since filling out the FAFSA is stressful - much like taxes - several higher education institutions and financial aid organizations have jumped on board to provide informational sessions for families and students as they navigate through, and apply for financial aid through the 2016-2017 FAFSA. According to the National Center [...]
February 2, 2016
by Susan DutcaTwo for-profit trade schools are being accused of lying to students in order to secure millions in federal funding. After receiving a combined $107 million in federal funding in the 2014-2015 academic year, two for-profit trade schools are temporarily banned from receiving any more funding from the Department of Education after reportedly falsifying documents and student statistics in what is [...]