What is Accreditation in Colleges and Universities?

Accreditation is the process by which higher learning intuitions get evaluated on their education standards by a board of members from various universities and colleges. Accreditation provides validation to institutions hence helping students in choosing the right university/college.

Posted by Navya B on 19th February 2018

What is Accreditation?

  • Accreditation is the way in which the certification of expertise, authority and validity are presented.

  • Accrediting agencies are the organizations that are established for operating standards in educational and professional institutions and programs, it also determines to which extent standards are met.

  • The main goal of accreditation is to ensure that education is provided by institutions of higher education, meets acceptable stages of quality. 

Why is accreditation important for your career?

  • If you want to get into a reputed institution, getting an accredited degree is absolutely essential in order to achieve the career success you deserve.

  • Accreditation is a process in which outside agencies evaluate your school's programs to ensure that they meet applicable academic standards.

  • Without the accreditation, it becomes difficult for employers to know whether your degree is from a legitimate institution or not.

Why is it important to take admission in an accredited college?

In order for students to receive federal student aid from the U.S. Department of Education for perusing post-secondary studies, the institution must be accredited by a nationally recognized accreditor (or, for certain vocational institutions, approved by a recognized state approval agency). It can be authorized by the state in which the institution is located, and should receive approvals from the Department through a program participation agreement.

When you graduate with a professional degree and look for a job, company take into consideration the college/university you attended and if it is accredited by a reliable agency.

How to know if the institution is accredited or not?

Accreditation assessments may include self-study on the part of the institution as well as evaluations by representatives of peer institutions who belong to the same accrediting agency.

There are numerous accrediting agencies in the United States. The most widely recognized accrediting agencies for colleges and universities are:

When going through your school's/college accreditation status, you should also be sure that the accreditation agency is itself accredited.

There can be differences between legitimate accreditation agencies as well.

To know if your institute/college or the accrediting agency itself is legitimate you need to check the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) database, where you can find the list of accredited institutions as well as different accrediting agencies.

Only colleges/agencies that are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education are included in this database. 

What does that mean to a student?

Accreditation is important besides insurance of quality to education and academic standards. It determines a school's eligibility for federal student aid and state financial aid programs, as well as eligibility for employer tuition assistance.

If the college fails to get all these facilities, then the college needs to search for an accrediting agency.

What if a school can’t find an accreditor?

  • No reason to panic, the schools/colleges are given the period of eighteen months before there’s any impact on the student aid.

  • But at that time, students would now not be able to use their federal aid at those schools.

  • Students who want to continue their education using federal loans or aids past that time would need to transfer.

  • Also, it's the foremost responsibility of the school to keep their students knowledgeable regarding the choices they have.

  • The US executive department can monitor to make sure that happens and often post updates through Federal Aid web site for college students.

How can I transfer out of my college?

Now that's one thing that is in your hands.

  • Firstly, you need to speak to the admission counsellor of your school as well as the admission counsellor of the school you wish to transfer.
  • Check the education department's college scorecard tool.
  • This, in fact, could be a very crucial tool to examine about your colleges' progress you'll see if your college encompasses a track record of preparing its students for successful careers additionally compare alternative choices if you're curious about transferring.

Go through our College Transfer Guide.

What If I have already graduated from that college?

We know how much effort it requires to get an admission in a good college and the hard work you put in to achieve that degree and how it must be feeling to see all that effort going into waste. But you need not worry as you have already graduated from that college when it was accredited. Your degree is still recognized.

Can I get my invested money back?

Getting a refund of the invested money depends on various factors such as the type of university, reason for loss of accreditation, etc.

  • Unfortunately, most of the students won't receive refunds if their college loses its accreditation status.
  • This is as a result of most colleges and universities operate like a business, and you invest in this business by paying for your education.
  • If your college bears off and can't afford to refund any cash or money facilitate, then your investment is all thought of a large Loss.
  • However, in rare cases, some state post-secondary institutions could refund some a part of your investment depending on how and why accreditation was lost.
  • The institutions can refund the cash from the government.


In the end, I would like to conclude by saying that all of you should be very much aware of the facts about whether your college is profit/not for profit.

If it is accredited or not because this is going to have a clear impact on your career and if unfortunately, something like that happens with your college.

You all must be familiar with the consequences and things to do or not to do. Hopefully, this article will work for you guys.