Accreditation vs Non-Accreditation

You will work hard for your college degree or diploma, so that college degree or diploma should be of outstanding quality!

An accrediting agency ensures that standards of practice are in place and awards a college, university or other institution the right to issue college degrees and diplomas. Reputable colleges, universities and other institutions of learning will hold themselves up to the scrutiny of an accrediting agency, thereby ensuring that certain academic standards are met. Accrediting agencies, themselves, are held to strict standards and are reviewed by educational organizations such as the Council for Higher Education and Accreditation (CHEA) and the United States Department of Education (USDE) to ensure quality of practice and standards.

Accrediting agencies are private bodies that award accreditation based on several criteria, some of which include:
  • Excellence of programs
  • Quality of faculty
  • Standards of admissions and recruitment
  • Availability of student services

If an accrediting agency finds that a college, university or other institution meets these standards, accreditation is awarded, but the process does not end there. Once accredited, a college, university or other institution will undergo intermittent reviews whereby they will be expected to show proof of educational maintenance and necessary improvement in all areas. It is not enough to merely earn accreditation; an accrediting agency will ensure that a college, university or other institution makes strides to retain their accreditation and continue to award quality college degrees and diplomas.

There are two types of accreditation:

  • Institutional Accreditation: Accreditation is awarded based on overall standards of curriculum, programs, student services, and more. Institutional Accreditation can be either Regional or National.

  • Specialized, Programmatic or Professional Accreditation: Accreditation is awarded based on standards of practice and quality of curriculum within a specific program, department or specialized school that is associated with or a division of a college, university or other institute that has already earned Institutional Accreditation.

You might ask yourself, ‘Why should I seek out an accredited institution when I can simply buy my college degree or diploma from Do-Nothing University? Well, if Do-Nothing University is not accredited, you’ve just wasted your hard-earned money! Non-accredited institutes are the equivalent of medical miracle pills that promise results with little or no effort. They are simply ineffective! A non-accredited institute will likely cost you in the following areas:

  • Reputability – You might be given the option to ‘buy’ your certificate, diploma or degree, and this is a definite red-flag! If your institution was non-accredited, you might as well have printed out your diploma or college degree on your home printer.

  • Financially – Non-accredited institutions are not approved to offer any types of federal financial aid, loans, scholarships or grants.

  • Employability – Employers DO take into consideration the certificate, diploma or college degree you have earned, and they DO care about the institution that issued it! A certificate, diploma or degree from a non-accredited institute might cost you the job of your dreams or advancement within your current field of practice.

  • Transferability –Do not expect to transfer the credits you’ve earned from a non-accredited institution to an accredited institution.

  • Licensure/Certification – Most States will insist on your successful completion of an accredited program before being able to ‘sit’ for a State examination.

It is important to avoid colleges, universities and institutes that have no intention of seeking accreditation. With countless distance-learning and online schools pervading the internet these days, it is especially important to do your research and choose a school that meets not only your standards, but those of an accrediting agency.

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