Thinking of going back to school to make your educational and career goals possible? In your research and reviews of potential universities, you’re going to come across the word “Accreditation.” You may see it and think that all universities are accredited, and that it’s not an important of a distinction, but that’s simply not the case. That’s why we want to present you with the four things you need to know about accreditation, beginning with:
- What Does “Accreditation” Mean?
Accreditation is a voluntary activity initiated by a university to get official recognition that they meet or exceed a set of standards for higher learning. The process of obtaining accreditation is rigorous, and the university must meet strict criteria regarding their curriculum and faculty.
The independent accreditation agency conducts numerous site visits, and has the prerogative to perform unannounced visits. In addition, the university must develop and implement an effectiveness plan. The financial stability of the university is reviewed annually, as well as retention and rates.
If the university is judged to meet or exceed the accreditation agency’s standards, the university receives accreditation.
- Why Is Accreditation Important?
Accreditation lets students know that the school meets or exceeds a set standard of quality. It can be especially important for distance learning universities, as it can provide peace of mind in the curriculum and quality of online courses.
Beyond the university, accreditation also helps employers determine the validity of the school’s degree programs. Some employers will even check to make sure that the graduating institution is indeed accredited, as this information can be applied in determining the quality of the applicant’s education.
Accreditation is also important for the benefit of the university. It can show a commitment to best practices and creating goals for institutional improvement. Financially, it can provide a basis for determining eligibility for federal student assistance—for a student to apply for federal grants and loans, the university they’re attending must be accredited by an accrediting agency that is recognized by the US Department of Education.
- What is the difference between Institutional and Programmatic Accreditation?
There are two kinds of accreditation—Institutional and Programmatic. Institutional Accreditation looks at the health of the entire institution and focuses on ensuring that the proper policies and procedures are in place to ensure student success. It is also important because, as mentioned above, it can ensure that you will be able to obtain federal financial aid at a particular institution.
Programmatic Accreditation focuses on certain subject matters. There are programmatic accrediting agencies for just about any subject. While Institutional Accreditation looks at the overall institution, Programmatic Accreditation looks in more detail at the program that they are accrediting and ensures that the institution is teaching a certain set of knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in that subject matter.
- How Accreditation Can Help You Choose the Right University
The bottom line is that you want your degree to mean something, to help you open doors to new career possibilities. Accreditation can be seen as validation for attending your university of choice.
Strayer University is institutionally accredited and programmatically accredited. Strayer is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Middle States is the same organization that accredits universities like Princeton University, Johns Hopkins University, Syracuse University, and many more.
Strayer University is also programmatically accredited by two institutions: The Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). The ACBSP programmatically accredits Strayer’s 13 business degree programs, including the Jack Welch Management Institute Executive MBA. TEAC programmatically accredits Strayer’s Master of Education degree.
Our primary goal in maintaining our accreditations is to make sure that we have academically rigorous courses and programs that will help our students be competitive in the marketplace.
*Strayer University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (267-284-5000, www.msche.org). The Commission is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. The ACBSP accredits Strayer University’s 13 business degree programs, including JWMI EMBA. Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, 11520 West 119th Street, Overland Park, KS 66213, Phone: 913-339-9356. TEAC, now part of the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation, is located at 2010 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20036, Phone: 202-223-0077.