What is accreditation?
Fundamentally, accreditation ensures that you are obtaining a quality education – and for your future employers and graduate programs to recognize your education. If the college does not have accreditation, you may want to think twice about enrolling.
Why accreditation is important
Lack of government financial aid: Contingent upon schools participating in federal Title IV or state financial aid funding is their accreditation. If the institution does not receive accreditation from a nationally recognized accredited agency, then you cannot qualify for any government-sponsored financial aid. Considering that government financial aid and student assistance programs play a large role in funding tuition, you automatically lose a significant portion of financial assistance by choosing a non-accredited institution.
- Disqualification from employer tuition assistance: The majority of employers who offer tuition assistance will not be able to reimburse your tuition costs from an institution that does not have accreditation.
- Inability to transfer credits: If you transfer to another school, then credits from a non-accredited college will not transfer appropriately. Course credits only transfer from institutions that are nationally accredited.
- Lack of prerequisites for graduate school: If you want to explore attending graduate school, it is important to obtain your education from an undergraduate institution that is accredited. Without accreditation, your classes, credits, and even degree will not be considered as a fulfilled prerequisite for most graduate programs.
- Disadvantages for employment: Many employers will review your educational background, especially if you are first starting out in your professional career. Obtaining an education from a non-accredited institution, instead of an accredited college, may not put your application in the best light. With the growing competition in the job marketplace, you want to ensure that your candidacy will be strong during the hiring process – and a non-accredited degree may not help you achieve that goal.
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges – This agency accredits education institutions in Hawaii, California, and Guam.
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools – This organization offers accreditation for colleges in New York, Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools – This accreditation agency manages Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Washington, and Utah.
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges – This organization accredits institutions in Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – For institutions in Florida, Alabama, Kentucky, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, and Virginia, this organization manages the accreditation.
- Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges – Educational institutions in Idaho, Alaska, Montana, Oregon, Nevada, Washington, and Utah are accredited by this agency.