When selecting a distance learning college, you should choose an online school accredited by one of the five regional accreditors. If “better” means more affordable, then nationally accredited online universities are often the winners. The first is full accreditation without conditions, meaning that the school met all requirements completely. Online schools can receive regional accreditation based on the location of their physical offices. Credits earned at regionally accredited institutions are more reliably transferable than credits earned at institutions with national, hybrid, or programmatic accreditation. Continue reading to see the current regional accreditation agencies recognized by the US Department of Education, the states they serve and the standards they follow. Regional Accreditation. Seven accrediting commissions operate in these regions. Additionally, a component of WASC’s mission, and broadly speaking its accreditation standards, involve schools serving the public good either through its graduates or direct involvement in the community. National Accreditation vs. These accreditation agencies are considered by some to have less stringent criteria or standards for accreditation than the regional organizations. It’s the type of accreditation held by most traditional, campus-based schools, although a growing number of online institutions also have regional accreditation status. The Commission then grants accreditation (with or without required follow-up to demonstrate changes or improvements) or denies accreditation. Accreditation criteria for institutions:The WASC Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges’ criteria focuses on a school’s ability to create and fulfil its own mission statement. When choosing a college to attend, understanding accreditation can get confusing. Probationary accreditation means that the program doesn’t fulfill the requirements for accreditation and has one year to fix these issues; if the issues aren’t fixed, the program completely loses its accreditation. Online program accreditationFor an online program to be accredited, the program must fulfill the same mission or goal as the institution as a whole. What is accreditation? Applicants who completed formal training for civilian or military work can earn up to 12 credits based on their professional experiences. Regional Accreditation for Online Schools. Online program accreditationThe SACSCOC has extensive requirements for accrediting schools with online programs. Regional accreditation typically applies to nonprofit, degree-granting institutions, while national accreditation applies to vocational, technical, faith-based, and for-profit institutions. Not all schools choose to become accredited, regardless of regional vs. national accreditation. Accredited schools; Accredited Internships, residencies, or programs; Performance data by accreditor; Accreditor Recognition Criteria and Process. If an online college chooses to apply for regional accreditation, it is evaluated by the regional agency that presides over its home state. After no more than five years of candidacy, the school may receive initial accreditation. Typically, regional accreditation by one of these seven organizations holds more importance and credibility than schools with only national accreditation. Accreditation criteria for institutionsThe Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges’ standards for accreditation focus on integrity and administrative processes in addition to academic success. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site. Self Paced Regionally Accredited Online Colleges Many people today need … As a result, online programs have no separate accreditation process and are instead accredited along with the entire school. Accredited online schools have been thoroughly evaluated and determined to be operating with their students’ best interests in mind. Phases to accreditationThe accreditation process itself lasts approximately one year, during which the program is considered an accreditation candidate. email@example.com; 202-453-7615; Information on Accredited Institutions. Online program accreditationIn order for an institution with an online program to gain accreditation, it must demonstrate that it can sustain the online program and must be able to produce results (in the form of graduates) equivalent to on-campus programs. Graduating students’ degrees may be worth more to employers when issued by a regionally accredited school and transferring students will often find they only receive credit for courses taken at a regionally accredited institution. This means that one such agency can provide accreditation to any college or university in the U.S. that meets its criteria, which makes it a particularly well-suited model of accreditation for online colleges serving multiple regions or geographically widespread populations. Benefits. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is a voluntary, nongovernmental, regional membership association that serves higher education institutions in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and other geographic areas in which the commission conducts accrediting activities. Schools that fail to meet standards can lose their accreditation. 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