Accredited Online Universities

The Goal of Accreditation

The goal of accreditation is to ensure that higher education institutions are providing education that meets acceptable standards of quality.

Why Choose an Accredited School?

It’s important before students start school, to verify whether their university of choice will allow them to reach their academic and professional goals.

Potential employers may consider your use of unaccredited credentials as fraudulent. In some states it is illegal to use unaccredited credentials.

An unaccredited institution is ineligible to participate in Federal student financial assistance programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education. If access to financial aid is important to you, make sure to enroll in an accredited school.

The Accreditation Process

Accrediting agencies or state approval agencies, recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education to be a “reliable authority as to the quality of postsecondary education,” develop evaluation criteria and conduct peer assessments to determine whether an institution or program meets those criteria. (All accrediting agencies are non-profit. They are not government agencies.)

The accreditation process follows these six steps:

1.       The accrediting agency, along with educational institutions, establishes standards.

2.       The institution or program requesting accreditation prepares a comprehensive self-evaluation and compares its performance to the standards established by the accrediting agency.

3.       A team from the accrediting agency visits the institution or program to determine if the standards established are actually being met.

4.       Once it’s been proven that the institution or program has met the specified criterion, the accrediting agency with publish the applicant in an official publication granting it either accreditation or preaccreditation status.

5.       To ensure the institute or program continues to meet the accrediting agency’s standards, the agency monitors the applicant throughout the period of accreditation granted.

6.       Periodically, the accreditation agency will reevaluate each institution or program to make sure accredited or preaccredited status is warranted.

The Purpose of Accreditation

1.       Verify that an institution or program meets the standards required by accrediting agencies.

2.       Assist prospective students in deciding on a suitable school.

3.       Assist institutions in determining acceptable transfer credits.

4.       Help identify institutions or programs for private and public investments.

5.       Protect institutions from harmful internal and external pressure.

6.       Stimulate a rise in standards and create goals for weaker institutions and programs.

7.       Involve faculty and staff in comprehensive evaluations and planning for the institution.

8.       Establish criteria for professional certification and licensure; upgrade preparatory courses for professional certification and licensure.

9.       Provide considerations as a basis for determining eligibility for Federal assistance.

Types of Accreditation


This type of accreditation applies to an entire institution. This means that all of its parts are contributing to the goals and objectives of the institution; it does not, however, mean that each of its parts are contributing at the same level. Both regional and national accrediting agencies can perform institutional accreditation.

Specialized or Programmatic

This usually applies to programs, departments, or schools within an institution. Accrediting agencies may also grant specialized or programmatic accreditation to free-standing professional schools and other specialized institutions of higher education.

Regional vs. National Accreditation

If your school is regionally accredited, employers will recognize your degree as genuine, your credits are more easily transferrable to other schools, and you are eligible to go on to more advanced degrees.


Regional accreditation agencies are a network of six agencies that each focus on different regions of the country. They can accredit both online and brick-and-mortar schools. It is the gold standard of college accreditation and most widely recognized type of accreditation; it comes with the highest prestige.

Regionally accredited schools usually provide courses led by actual professors. Students at these schools are also eligible for all corporate tuition reimbursement plans.


National accreditation agencies accredit schools throughout the country, as well as some schools abroad. These national agencies traditionally focus more on approving career, vocational, trade, and faith-based schools.

The admission standards for nationally accredited schools are usually more relaxed. These schools also offer more practical and career-oriented majors. Sometimes these schools are eligible for corporate tuition reimbursement plans.

Things to Consider

·         Credit and Degree Transfer

Usually credits from regionally accredited schools can be easily transferred to nationally accredited schools, but regionally accredited schools often do not accept credits from nationally accredited schools. This also applies to degrees earned; your Associate’s, Bachelor’s, etc., from a nationally accredited school may not be accepted by a regionally accredited school.

·         Cost

Regionally accredited schools are usually more expensive than nationally accredited schools. On average, regionally accredited online MBA costs $20,500, while a nationally accredited online MBA costs $12,700.

·         Employers

If you are interested in employment at a certain company or hoping for a promotion at your current job, talk to your Human Resources representative to determine if there are any preferences as to the accreditation of your credentials.

Top 10 Rated Accredited Online Schools

1.       University of Phoenix

2.       Kaplan University

3.       DeVry University

4.       Ellis MBA Program

5.       Baker College

6.       ITT Technical Institute

7.       Keller Graduate School of Management

8.       Westwood College

9.       Capella University

10.   Anthem College

Can a School Lose its Accreditation?

Yes. It’s rare that an institution will lose its accreditation, but it happens. Usually a school will lose accreditation if their academic standards decline or if the school has been financially mismanaged.

Here are some warning signs that your school may lose its accreditation:

·         You become ineligible for financial aid

·         The quality of your education begins to decline

·         Your school’s accrediting agency says your school is on probation (Your school’s accrediting agency’s information can be found on the school’s website or other school materials.)

What does it mean for you if your school loses its accreditation? Nothing good:

·         Employers won’t recognize your degree

·         Transferring credits will be more difficult

·         You probably won’t get your tuition money back

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *