Who Does Accreditation?
There are many agencies who do accreditation. The entities which grant accreditation are private organizations. The guidelines they establish and the kinds of higher education institutions they accredit are their own decisions. There are, therefore, agencies that are specific to certain professional fields, such as law or medicine, or vocational programs like auto repair or cosmetology. Other accrediting organizations deal with the institutions as a whole, examining administration, resources, admissions, and student services and so on, not just the academic arena. Schools often carry more than one accreditation to cover some or all of their degree offerings. A school that is accredited can be considered trustworthy in terms of quality of education, and will probably be more reputable than unaccredited institutions when students are seeking graduate schools and future employment.
Accrediting agencies that the United States Department of Education (USDE) acknowledges are either regional or national. There are six geographic regions in the United States that determine accreditation to degree-granting institutions. National agencies will accredit schools or programs throughout the United States.
Whether national or regional, and whether they grant institutional or program accreditation, all the accrediting agencies fall into one of two categories: recognized and unrecognized. The United States Department of Education (USDE) is accepted for having the strongest determining factors as to whether a college or university is a legitimate investment of time and money. The USDE does not conduct the reviewing or granting of accreditation itself. Instead, the UDSE’s job is to evaluate which accrediting entities meet the standards of the Department, and therefore of the federal government. Although not required, many accrediting agencies apply for recognition from the USDE. One of the most critical privileges enjoyed by USDE-approved accrediting bodies is the right to participate in federal loan and grant programs, such as the Federal Student Financial Aid Program. See www.joinitaa.comfor further information regarding USDE approval of accrediting entities.
The USDE lists the nationally recognized accrediting entities on its website, so that students can see if a potential university's accrediting body is officially recognized by the federal government. Since schools want potential students to know if they are accredited, the institution website will most likely state their accreditation status.
More details about who does accreditation can be found at www.joinitaa.com.
In addition to the agencies that review and grant accreditation who are recognized by the USDE and CHEA, there are unrecognized entities that grant accreditation. There are a number of reasons accrediting agencies are unrecognized by the USDE or CHEA. The agency might be working through the process of becoming recognized, or it may fall short in some determining factors, or the agency might have other reasons to choose against seeking federal sanction. It should not be automatically assumed that the accrediting entity has less than desirable standards of quality or that it acknowledges only untrustworthy institutions if it does not possess USDE or CHEA recognition. For more information about who does accreditation,please visit www.joinitaa.com.