How Do I Find Accredited Colleges and Schools in My State?
Finding a properly accredited college or school is important for financial aid, employer tuition reimbursement, and eligibility for further education or professional licensure. Some disreputable educational companies may set up professional-looking websites or advertise themselves without being evaluated by an accrediting agency. Learn how to find accredited colleges and schools below.
How to Find Accredited Colleges and Schools
Although fake colleges and degree mills can be misleading, it's easy to check if a school is properly accredited. To find a list of accredited colleges and universities in any state, visit the U.S. Department of Education website or reference the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) database.
Important Facts About Online Accredited Colleges
|Degree Levels||Associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees available|
|Prerequisites||Vary, depending upon intended program of enrollment; a high school diploma, or equivalent, is typically required for enrollment in an associate's or bachelor's degree program|
|Concentrations||Accounting, public health, philosophy, psychology, business administration, criminal justice, environmental science|
|Possible Careers||Engineer, financial examiner, graphic designer, teacher, database administrator, radio and television announcer|
U.S. Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education must approve of colleges and universities so that enrolled students can become eligible for Pell Grants, Stafford Loans and other federally guaranteed financial aid. The Department of Education maintains a database of accredited schools on its website (ope.ed.gov). The search function is intuitive, allowing users to easily browse schools according to institution and state. Searches can be narrowed by city, school name or address. American Samoa, Guam, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Northern Marianas, Palau, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are included on the list. The U.S. Department of Education does not recognize international accrediting agencies.
Users can also opt to search by accrediting agency. This is particularly useful if searchers wish to look at all schools and colleges for allied health that are accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools, or peruse law programs that are approved by the American Bar Association.
Council for Higher Education Accreditation
The CHEA database (www.chea.org) is as easy to use as the Department of Education website when seeking accredited colleges and schools. A user's agreement must be clicked on to allow access, and it explains that not all accredited schools may be listed. Search windows sort the queries by institution name or state. Users may also search by country or accrediting organization.
CHEA also posts a directory of accrediting organizations. This is particularly useful when checking the accreditation of an unfamiliar school, as spurious companies commonly called 'diploma mills' may claim to be accredited by an equally untrustworthy 'accreditation mill.' Some names are designed to closely mimic that of a genuine accreditation agency, so close verification may be required in order to ensure accuracy.