What Is the Importance of Attending Accredited Colleges?
While many colleges opt to become accredited, others do not. The U.S. Department of Education can help you verify if the school you want to attend is accredited. Find out why you should choose an accredited college for your educational needs.
Accreditation and Quality Education
Accreditation ensures that a program or institution meets certain standards. There are many accrediting agencies. The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) keeps a list of agencies that it deems reliable. There are two basic types of accreditation: institutional accreditation recognizes an entire institution for meeting set standards, while programmatic accreditation applies only to a specific educational program or department within an institution.
Accreditation is a voluntary process, and colleges must go through a series of steps in order to become accredited. These steps involve a self-assessment, a peer review, a visit by an examination team from the agency and a judgment made by the accrediting committee. These steps make certain that a college has met quality standards regarding curriculum, administration, faculty and student services.
Importance of Attending Accredited Colleges
In addition to ensuring that institutions and programs provide a high-quality education, accreditation can be important for financial aid and credit transfer purposes.
Opportunities for Financial Aid
The USDE ensures that federal financial aid funding is being appropriated to students at institutions meeting higher academic standards. Therefore, federal aid is only available to students attending colleges accredited by USDE-recognized accrediting agencies.
Ability to Transfer College Credits
Accreditation is also important because many colleges won't accept credits from a non-accredited institution. If students change colleges throughout their academic career, they have a much better chance of having all of their credits transfer if the credits are earned at an accredited college.