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“Accreditation” is review of the quality of higher education institutions and programs. In the United States, accreditation is a major way that students, families, government officials, and the press know that an institution or program provides a quality education.
Whether a college, university, or program is accredited is important:
Accreditation is a complicated subject. “Informing the Public About Accreditation” is an effort to reduce this complexity and provide the public with answers to these basic questions:
Colleges, universities, and programs are accredited. In the U.S., colleges and universities are accredited by one of 18 recognized institutional accrediting organizations. Programs are accredited by one of approximately 69 recognized programmatic accrediting organizations. [Accrediting organizations that are “recognized” have been reviewed for quality by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the United States Department of Education (USDE).]
The CHEA Database of Institutions and Programs Accredited by Recognized United States Accrediting Organizations contains information about more than 8,200 institutions and 20,000 programs in the U.S. Links to the Websites of these colleges and universities are also available.
When using the database:
In the U.S., the accreditors are private, nongovernmental organizations created for the specific purpose of reviewing higher education institutions and programs for quality. In most other countries, accreditation (or quality assurance) is carried out by government organizations.
To find a recognized U.S. accrediting organization or a ministry of education or quality assurance organization in another country, visit the CHEA International Directory. This directory contains contact information about quality assurance and accreditation organizations from 467 countries, including the United States.
Here are several brief documents that describe accreditation and how it operates.
Here are two documents that offer important questions about accreditation and quality.
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