Much has been said by political and higher education leaders about how the costs of school accreditation and education are higher for universities and colleges. The Boston Consulting Group and Vanderbilt University survey indicates that schools spend nearly $3 billion for regional accreditation.
The figure was based on the overall costs of 13 schools and other industry-wide data. A previous survey indicated that Vanderbilt University College of Art and Sciences spend over 500 hours yearly, costing nearly $2.92 million to announce its regional report.
That’s an additional $500,000 the colleges and universities spend annually to organize academic assessments and other affairs. These costs are irresponsible and inflated misleading. Many authority resources reported that the majority of the costs defined in the previous Vanderbilt report were associated with guidelines related to federal research grants, not accreditation.
There are two major leaders in accreditation organizations: one that offers regional accreditation for more than 800 Southern higher education schools and the other that assures quality in more than 34,000 pre-K-12 schools globally. Based on our estimation, the cost of accreditation is less than that reported in the previous Senate report. Accreditation costs are between 5% and 10% of the overall investment costs of any institution.
A school’s accreditation status is vital for decision-making, especially when seeking the best college. School accreditation and education mean that the institution has quality academic programs and adheres to the educational statutes. Most accreditation organizations have specific criteria for accreditation.
The Department of Education uses these organizations to determine whether the universities and colleges meet academic standards. Although the federal government sets its standards for accreditors, it doesn’t accredit any institutions. The federal government depends on these accreditors to ensure all schools meet academic standards.
When searching for an institution, consider accreditation your top priority. The United States relies on accreditation to determine whether the education offered at certain schools matches the tuition fee. To receive and use federal funds, you must be in an accredited school.
That also applies to learners who want to utilize federal aid for military activities. However, states offer different forms of aid, but students must enroll in accredited programs to earn them.
Unfortunately, any credit from an unaccredited school can’t be transferred to another school. For instance, if you’ve been awarded a degree from an unaccredited institution and then transfer to an accredited one to earn a bachelor’s, you may have to start over, especially if the accredited school declines your offer. In addition, a degree from an unaccredited school is a barrier to career prospects.
In most cases, employers prefer individuals from accredited schools. Career fields such as nursing and social work require someone to have a degree from an accredited school and education to sit for licensure examinations. Beware that if you use corporate reimbursement tuition through your employer, the employer may not pay for the tuition fee for the unaccredited school.
When researching the accreditation status of an online institution, just focus on the kind of accreditation that institution holds. There are two different kinds of accreditation: national and regional.
Reports show that approximately 85% of institutions in the United States hold regional accreditation. This type was popularly known as the “gold standard” many years ago. As the most popular and prestigious type of accreditation, it focuses on quality academic standards. It also oversees institutions based on location. There are 6 regional accreditation organizations:
The Western Association of University Commission and Schools and Senior College,
▪The Middle States Commission on Higher Education,
▪The Higher Learning Commission,
▪The New England Association of Schools and Colleges,
▪The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools,
▪The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Further, all state-owned and nonprofit schools hold regional accreditation. On the other hand, nonprofit institutions hold national accreditation status.
According to the federal state survey, approximately 15% of uncredited institutions have national accreditation accounts. National accreditation organizations use outstanding accreditation criteria to compare schools’ programs. However, they don’t manage schools based on location. Also, credits earned at national schools can only be transferred to an institution with national accreditation.
National schools offer pocket-friendly admissions fees compared to regionally accredited schools. Although these institutions don’t receive federal government funds, they earn money via tuition fees. Others have corporate shareholders who fund and boost their financial services.
Institutional and programmatic accreditation play a major role in quality assurance. Institutional accreditation is offered by national or regional accreditation organizations.
Furthermore, it oversees schools’ programs and contributes to the institution’s overall quality. Other institutions have different kinds of programmatic accreditation to manage specific programs and major fields within the school’s premises. Programmatic accreditation helps institutional accreditation, particularly in vocational and professional activities.
Programmatic accreditation can also apply to individuals’ universities, programs, and departments within the same institution. Moreover, it offers assurance to students preparing for certification or licensure exams. For instance, to successfully sit for certification exams via the Association of Social Work Boards, you must have a social work program from the Council on Social Work Education.
Almost all accredited online schools earn accreditation through a stipulated process organized by a specific agency. All institutions submit to this process via accreditation organizations voluntarily.
Typically, schools apply for accreditation after audit preparation and agency review. Then, the accrediting organization reviews the institution’s curriculum and assesses whether it matches the criteria. And if that school meets the standards, the agency awards it school accreditation.
The New England Commission of Higher Education, for instance, considers factors like academic programs, school purpose and mission, and school resources before awarding it accreditation.
Typically, accrediting organizations offer specific standards and allow the schools to perform their evaluations. Then, they perform an on-site evaluation of that institution and make a decision based on its accreditation status.
These agencies continue monitoring the campus institutions and regionally accredited online colleges within the accreditation period. Once the period terminates, the institution gets a chance to renew its accreditation. Its main goal is to ensure all institutions adhere to the academic standards after receiving the accreditation.
Maintaining and earning procedures, especially for accreditation vary from one agency to another, but accreditors must go through the same process to earn recognition from the United States of Education.