Why is college accreditation important?
College is a big commitment; probably the biggest you’ll make at a very young age. This makes it all the more important to make this decision a sound one. Several factors need to be considered while choosing the right college, such as tuition, college programs, location, and campus life. While these factors are viable, there are other, less talked about factors which could be just as important; if not more. College accreditation is one of those.
Let’s take a look at college accreditation and the value it holds not only in your educational experience but in your career path as well.
Accreditation is an independent, voluntary review of a college conducted by a neutral third party. This review aims to determine the quality of education provided by the college.Accrediting organizations take into consideration various factors such as the competency of the faculty, nature of programs offered and tuition, student support services, facilities offered, financial loans and student aid etc, during the accreditation process. A college is granted accreditation if it meets the set standards of education decided by the accrediting organization.
By enrolling in an accredited college, you can not only be sure of the quality of education you will receive but also of the college’s adherence to these standards. This applies for online colleges as well. A college, regardless of it being online or on-ground, must be accredited as well by an accrediting organization recognized by either the U.S Department of Education (USDE) or Council for Higher Accreditation (CHEA). Take for example CollegeAmerica. CollegeAmerica accreditation—accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) which has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The college offers on-campus and online programs in a variety of fields such as healthcare, information technology, business and graphic arts
Accreditation can be broadly divided into four categories:
Regional accreditation- There are six accrediting organizations recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Specialized and programmatic accreditation
Accrediting organizations for specialized colleges
The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Accreditation (CHEA)keeps a database of all the recognized accrediting organizations.
Now to answer the more pertinent question; why is college accreditation important and what relevance does it hold in our lives? An accredited college stands for quality of education, academic excellence, financial aid, credit transfer and recognition from future employers. Here are a few things you can be sure of through a degree from an accredited college:
● Quality of education: An accredited college has met the standards of curriculum, student services, financial aid, administration, student aid and facilities.
Transfer of credits: Colleges and universities will not accept credits transferred from a college that has not been accredited from a recognized accrediting organization.
Financial aid: Federal, and in most cases state, funds are available only to students who choose to enroll at a college that has been accredited by an accrediting organization recognized by the USDE.
Potential employers in future: While reviewing your job application, most potential employers will prefer and accept applicants with degrees from accredited colleges. A degree from a college that has not been accredited could hamper your chances of securing jobs in the future.
An accredited college ultimately means quality education, true value for hard earned money and the best possible investment for your future and future endeavors.