Accreditation is a voluntary, nongovernmental process whereby a recognized organization/agency grants public recognition to a unit of an educational organization (school, institute, college, university, specialized program of study) indicating that it meets established standards of quality, as determined through initial and periodic self-study and evaluation by peers. In the absence of centralized authority over institutions of higher education at the national level, the fifty states assume varying degrees of control over educational institutions. As a result, institutions vary widely in the character and quality of their programs. The essential purpose of the accreditation process is to provide a professional judgment as to the quality of the educational institution or program(s) offered and to encourage continual improvement.

       Categories of Accreditation: Institutional and Programmatic.

  • Institutional accreditation focuses on the quality and integrity of the institution as a whole, assessing the achievement of the institution in meeting its own stated mission, goals, and objectives. Institutional accreditation is granted by both regional and national accreditation agencies.

  • Specialized programmatic accreditation focuses on the quality and integrity of individual programs of study offered by institutions in the preparation of members of professional or occupational fields. Accreditation is at the national level.

       Recognized Accrediting Agencies

Nongovernmental membership associations that have been determined to be reliable authorities as to the quality of education or training provided by institutions of higher education and the higher education programs these agencies accredit are recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE) and/or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The USDE and CHEA publish lists of these nationally recognized agencies; they do not accredit higher education institutions or programs.

Directory of Accrediting Organizations Recognized by the U. S. Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation

       Status of Accreditation

Institutional  (Southern Association of Colleges & Schools - Commission on Colleges Members Only)

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