Accreditation of US Higher Education Institutions

Accreditation is the process of quality review carried out by the Accrediting agencies. These agencies develop standards to be maintained by the schools for excellence in areas such as faculty, curriculum, student services and administration etc. Only the Institutions and programs that meet the set standards are granted accreditation.

The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality. Accreditation in the United States involves non-governmental entities as well as governmental agencies.

The United States has no Federal Ministry of Education or other centralized authority exercising single national control over post-secondary education institutions in this country. The States assume varying degrees of control over education, but in general, institutions of higher education are permitted to operate with considerable independence and autonomy. As a consequence, American educational institutions can vary widely in the character and quality of their programs.

In order to insure a basic level of quality, the practice of accreditation arose in the United States as a means of conducting non-governmental, peer evaluation of educational institutions and programs. Private educational associations of regional or national scope have adopted criteria reflecting the qualities of a sound educational program and have developed procedures for evaluating institutions or programs to determine whether or not they are operating at basic levels of quality.

Benefits of Accreditation

This helps such institutions to continuously improve on their standards. Accreditation also helps students, employers, and others in identifying those schools that meet the standards for educational quality. Accreditation is very important in transferring of credits from one school to another.

From the International students perspective, accreditation is a useful tool which they must use to identify quality schools that meet their needs and standards. Accreditation is also the means by which the U.S. government certifies that the school is eligible to issue necessary documents for the international students to enter the country via student visa. Employers too give a high significance to those who have graduated from an accredited school. Accreditation can be a means for access to federal educational funding.

Types of Accreditation

There are broadly two types of accreditation
  • Institutional accreditation: This accreditation applies to the university as a whole.
  • Professional accreditation: This accreditation exists only in fields where professional competence is of broad concern such as engineering, nursing, and business of accreditation.
Why is accredited online education important?

You want to go for online education but are confused about which university or college? There are so many universities offering online education, your confusion is natural. If you want that you get a genuine degree after the completion of your course, which is also recognized at workplaces, the first thing do is to make sure that the university is accredited one.

The accreditation must be by one of the six agencies acknowledged by the National Board of Education. If your degree is not accredited, your whole effort will go down the drain.

The first and the last step to keep yourself away from the fake universities and degrees is to look at its accreditation.

Accreditation Agencies

There are a various accreditation agencies in the country that awards accreditation to the schools and university’s program. But accreditation provided by all agencies does not hold value. Therefore, it’s very important to make sure that the program chosen by you is accredited by a credible agency. The credible accreditation agencies are those whose accreditation cannot be challenged by anybody and are approved by US Department of Education. Some of the primary agencies for accreditation of higher education in the United States are:
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges(NSASC) Website:
  • North Central Association of Schools and Colleges(NCA) Website:
  • Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges(MSA) Website:
  • Southern Association of Schools and Colleges(SACS) Website:
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Website:
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities(NWCCU) Website
For more details see official website of US Department of Education Website:
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