Quality Through Accreditation
July 17, 2013
Accreditation in the United States assures and improves the quality of higher education through the assessment of institutions and programs using a set of peer-developed standards. Accreditation signals that an institution or program that has successfully completed an accreditation review has in place the level of needed instruction and student support that assists students achieve their educational goals. Through the use of accreditation, colleges and universities have been able to provide the conditions necessary for delivery of a diverse and robust education.
But what does accreditation mean from a practical standpoint? Depending on your vantage point, it can mean many things.
For students, accreditation means an elevated reputation. It means students can have confidence in an institution and the education they’re receiving because peer experts have reviewed the quality of the education provided, the processes by which students are educated, and the processes that the institution or program uses to maintain such quality.
From a financial perspective, accreditation provides access to federal and state financial aid, some of which is often times only available to qualified students who attend institutions accredited by recognized accrediting organizations.
From another financial perspective, accreditation provides value related to a student’s ability to transfer the most credits between institutions. Accreditation provides an indication to institutions judging requests for transfer or applications for undergraduate and graduate school that the conveying institution has met threshold expectations of quality. This ability to transfer more credits between institutions results in students avoiding the often necessity requirement of retaking credit already earned, thereby saving time and money.
From a job prospect viewpoint, accreditation can in some cases, aid with entrance to a profession, when a particular field may require graduation from an accredited program or institution.
For those outside the education arena, i.e. the public and employers, accredited status guarantees the quality of the education as well as conveys a confidence that an institution can deliver on its assurances. Simply stated, employers can be confident that graduates of an accredited institution or program are appropriately prepared.
With the number of higher education choices, as number of factors must be weighed to safeguard your financial and time commitments are worth the investment. Accreditation is one means of confirming your education choice is the right choice.