How to Select an Online Regionally Accredited School
Students considering online regionally accredited schools must make their decision based on several key factors. Online schools may receive regional accreditation from one of six organizations specializing in different geographic regions. The table below lists the six accrediting agencies and the states that they serve. Regional accrediting agencies are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The six agencies accredit traditional colleges and universities.
National vs. Regional Accreditation
National accreditation for online schools is given by the Distance Education Training Council (DETC). DETC is noted for its expertise in accrediting online schools and was originally formed to accredit correspondence courses (www.detc.org). Through DETC's accreditation process, any institution in the nation and around the globe can seek accreditation, while regional accreditation accredits institutions in specific regions only. Online schools may receive regional accreditation through the agency that serves the state where the online school is headquartered.
Advantages of Regionally Accredited Online Schools
Accreditation is a voluntary process during which institutions open their facilities, curricula and financial accounts to accrediting agencies for inspection to ensure that operations and educational policies meet agency standards. Schools may seek regional accreditation in part to facilitate transfer of credits between schools, which have all met the same standards for academic rigor. Many regionally accredited schools will not accept transfer credits from a nationally accredited school that doesn't also have regional accreditation.
Regional Accrediting Agencies
|Regional Agency||States Served||Agency URL|
|New England Association of Schools and Colleges||CT, ME, MA, NH, RI and VT||www.neasc.org|
|Southern Association of Schools and Colleges||FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, AL, VA, TN and TX||www.sacs.org|
|Middle States Commission on Higher Education||NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD and DC||www.msche.org|
|Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities||AK, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT and WA||www.nwccu.org|
|Western Association of Schools and Colleges||CA and HI||www.acswasc.org|
|North Central Association of Colleges and Schools||AR, AZ, CO, IA, IL, IN, KA, MI, MN, ND, NE, OH, OK, NM, SD, WI, WV and WY||www.northcentralassociation.org|