Online College Accreditation – 7 Frequently Asked Questions
Posted Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 by
When you’re looking into an online college or university, you’ll likely be advised to look closely at the school’s accreditation. But do you know what “accreditation” means, understand the different types of accreditation or appreciate why accreditation is important? If not, you’re not alone. Accreditation is a topic that confuses a lot of people. But it’s important to understand accreditation if you’re going to get the most from your educational investment.
To help you pick the best online college or university for your needs, here are answers to seven frequently asked questions about accreditation.
Q. What does “accreditation” mean?
A. Accreditation is a way to ensure the public that an institution of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality. Accrediting agencies develop a set of criteria and conduct peer evaluations to assess whether or not those criteria are being met by the school in question. Institutions and/or programs that meet an agency’s criteria are “accredited” by that agency.
Q. Why is accreditation important?
A. Accreditation by agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) allows a school to be eligible for Title IV funds and state funds. Students can only receive federal loans if they are attending a school that has been accredited by an agency recognized by the DOE.
Q. Who accredits schools?
A. Accreditation is done by a variety of private, non-profit organizations that must be reviewed and approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Currently, there are about 80 accrediting agencies recognized by the Department of Education.
Q. What are the different types of accreditation?
A. The following are the four types of accrediting entities in the United States:
- Regional accreditors. These organizations accredit public and private, mainly nonprofit and degree-granting two- and four-year institutions.
- National faith-related accreditors. These organizations accredit religiously affiliated and doctrinally based institutions, mainly nonprofit and degree granting.
- National career-related accreditors. These organizations accredit mainly for-profit, career-based, single purpose institutions, both degree and non-degree granting.
- Programmatic accreditors. These organizations accredit specific programs, professions and freestanding schools, e.g., law, medicine, engineering and health professions.
Q. Can a school lose its accreditation?
A. Absolutely. Accrediting agencies regularly review the operations of their accredited schools to make sure they’re maintaining or improving their standards. Failure to meet standards is usually followed by a probationary period. If the school has still not improved its operations, it can lose its accreditation altogether.
Q. Does going to an accredited online college mean any credits I earn there can be transferred to another school?
A. Whether or not college credits can be transferred is always up to the school accepting the credits. This is true for traditional ground schools as it is for online colleges.
Q. How do I find out if an online college is accredited and, if so, by whom?
A. Such information should be posted on the school’s website. If it’s not posted, ask a school representative. This is critical information you have every right to know about.
About Everest University Online
If you are considering earning your degree online, consider Everest University Online, a division of Everest University. Everest University Online offers degree programs in a variety of areas, including:
- Applied Management
- Computer Information Science
- Criminal Investigations
- Criminal Justice
- Homeland Security
The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools accredits Everest University to award diplomas, associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees.
The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools is listed as a nationally recognized accrediting agency by the United States Department of Education and is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) is located at 750 First Street, NE, Washington, D.C. 20002; (202) 336-6780.
For more information, contact Everest University Online today.
For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program and other important information, please visit our website at www.everestonline.edu/disclosures.
Financial aid is available for those who qualify.