Online Degrees & Accreditation
Colleges, universities, and other post-secondary education programs undergo voluntary accreditation to prove that they adhere to acceptable levels of quality and standards. It’s not hard to find out if your school is accredited, but it’s crucial that the school and program you choose to attend has the accepted and standard accreditation, including online programs.
Kathleen Curtis is an American writer currently living in Louisville, Kentucky. She has developed content around education for more than a decade for both domestic and international clients.
Understanding accreditation is critically important when looking for an online program. A school’s accreditation not only helps ensure the quality of the education you receive, it’s also vital if you need to secure student financial aid. Students who fail to attend an accredited school cannot take advantage of federal financial aid, let alone graduate from an institution with a good reputation.
Taking time to understand accreditation details is key to finding the best online program for your educational and career needs. Whether you’re researching options for your first degree or want to pursue an advanced education, accreditation remains important at every academic level.
In addition to educating readers on the various types of accreditation and how each applies to different schools, you can also learn about common warning signs, get to know the entities that oversee accrediting agencies, and see what our expert has to say on the matter.
Types of Accreditation
Understanding different types of accreditation can help you make an educated decision about both the school and program you choose to attend. When starting your educational journey, it’s worth understanding how accreditation works. While the U.S. Department of Education doesn’t directly accredit schools, it does provide oversight for accrediting agencies. Accreditation exists in several different forms, each of which we will explore in the following sections. Depending on the programs and degree levels available, a school may hold more than one type of accreditation. Keep reading to learn all you need to know about this important process.
The Function of Accrediting Agencies
Whether regional, national, or programmatic, accrediting agencies fill a specific role in school accreditation. These non-governmental organizations set the standards for receiving accreditation, provide peer reviews of individual institutions and programs, and make decisions about whether they meet the requirements or need to make adjustments before reapplying. Individual types of accrediting agencies set unique standards and dictate the type of school or program that applies.
Both the U.S. Department of Education and Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) work with recognized accrediting agencies to ensure standards are achieved and maintained.