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Frequently Asked Questions about Regional Accreditation

What is Accreditation?

Accreditation is a process of quality assurance and review that institutions participate in, generally on a voluntary basis. Accrediting associations are most often groups of like institution whose purpose is to establish standards by which appropriate practice can be judged.

What is the value of Accreditation?

Accreditation is a symbol of the quality of an institution's education programs. Accreditation indicates both an intuition's compliance with the standards held by accrediting bodies and the reasonable grounds for believing it will continue to meet them.

What is Regional Accreditation?

Regional accreditation is an institutional level accreditation status granted by one of six U.S. regional accrediting bodies. According to the Higher Learning Commission, this type of accreditation evaluates the institution as a whole, assessing "formal education activity" as well as governance and administration, financial stability, admissions and student personnel services, institutional resources, student academic achievement, institutional effectiveness and relationships with constituencies inside and outside the institution.

Is one Regional Accreditation better than another?

Each accrediting body oversees the colleges and universities that operate in its geographic region. No one regional agency is rated higher than another.

The Six U.S. Regional Accreditation Agencies are:

  1. Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSACS)
  2. New England Association of Colleges and Schools (NEACS)
  3. North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCAS)
  4. Northwest Association of Colleges and Schools (NASC)
  5. Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
  6. Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

See also: U.S. Department of Education