What Are Regionally Accredited Online Schools?

Accredited online schools have received their accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Learn more about regionally accredited online schools in this article.

Overview Of Regional Accreditation

A school's accreditation provides assurance that educational standards are being met, and it is an important consideration when trying to choose an online degree program. Not all degree-granting schools are accredited, which is why it's important to check. Accreditation is provided by both governmental and nongovernmental agencies that have developed criteria to ensure such standards are met by institutions of higher education. Faculty accomplishments, student achievement, academic support and student services are some of the criteria that accrediting agencies typically use to evaluate schools. Schools that offer online programs are required to meet the same standards and criteria for accreditation as schools offering campus-based programs.

Important Information On Accredited Online Schools

Prerequisites High school diploma or equivalent
Degree Fields Science, applied science, arts, education, among others
Degree and Certificate Levels Undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs are available
Online Availability Many accredited schools offer online and distance learning options either partially or in full depending on program

Regional Accreditation Agencies

Regional accreditation can ensure that earned credits are accepted by other schools in your region, in case you want to transfer to a new school. Accreditation also affects whether state and federal financial aid is available, as well as whether students are eligible to receive such aid.

Regional accreditation is the most widely accepted and recognized type of accreditation in the U.S. The CHEA recognizes seven regional accrediting agencies that accredit schools as well as public and private colleges and universities. Go to the accrediting organization's website and see if the online school is on the list of schools accredited by that organization. Some regional accrediting organizations in the U.S. are:

  • The New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE)
  • The Higher Learning Commission (NCA-HLC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (WASC-ACCJC)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities (WASC-ACSCU)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

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