You can’t just wing it!
To be an accredited institution, you need to make sure to have the proper credentials. Just like in the movie Legally Blonde, Elle Woods had to go through a lot of hard work to get into Harvard Law – she couldn’t just “wing it.” The same is true for opening a post-secondary institution.
Let’s talk about the various types of accreditation, and also try to answer the million-dollar question: “which accreditation to go for?”
So, before we even begin, why get accredited?
There’s a long list of reasons why universities must get accredited but the most important of them are:
First: In all States, non-accredited colleges or universities are given provisional licenses on the condition that they become fully accredited within a given timeframe. Those that fail to meet this condition can get their license suspended or even revoked.
Another reason to get accredited is that without your institution being accredited, your students will not be able to obtain student funding, and that will of course affect your enrollment rates, among other things.
There are three types of accreditation:
Regional accreditation, National accreditation, and Programmatic accreditation.
Regional accreditation, as the name implies, is an accreditation that only serves a specific region in the U.S. There are six regional accreditors serving the 6 different educational regions in the United States:
Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Higher Learning Commission
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
New England Association of Schools and Colleges
It’s commonly believed that regional accreditation is more “prestigious” than national accreditation due to its rigorous application process. Now, if you’re considering going the regional route, bear in mind that it will take at least double the time and money that national accreditation takes.
Another thing worthy of mentioning is that regional accreditors started accepting universities from all over the nation after a change in regulations. What this means for you is that you can now choose from a long list of accreditors, which wasn’t the case before.
National accreditation, on the other hand, is an accreditation given by bodies not limited by region. That includes accreditation for providing distance learning, or any faith-based or career-related accrediting bodies.
Generally speaking, applying for national accreditation is a faster and more affordable process, and if you’re in the business of distance learning or faith-based learning, this might be a great option for you.
Finally, there’s programmatic accreditation or specialized accreditation. This is the kind of accreditation you get for your specific programs.
Usually, you’ll need to be accredited regionally or nationally before you apply for this accreditation, but getting programmatic accreditation only boosts the prestige and legitimacy of the programs you offer.
For instance, if you offer nursing or business programs in your university or college, they each have their own accrediting bodies. Getting the specific program accreditation proves to your students, and to the public, that your program meets the standards for those fields.
Learn more about Accreditation in our links below.
And be sure to check out our next video "How long does it take to open an accredited university in the US?"
As always, feel free to give me a call or Contact Us with any questions you may have. I’ve been helping clients establish universities in the US for over a decade, and I’m looking forward to helping you, too.