Make sure your educational investment has value by choosing a regionally accredited university.
The hunt for the right college or university is a complicated one. In addition to obvious questions, such as tuition rates and which degree programs are offered, there’s one that many schools won’t be as straightforward about: accreditation.
Accreditation is awarded to an institute of higher learning by an independent, external group of auditors who confirm that the college or university in question keeps the promises it makes to students.
Do the degrees offered prepare you for relevant careers in that field? Does the school provide financial and other assistance to students who might be confused by the process? Are the instructors adequately qualified to teach their subjects? These are just a few of the many questions that auditors answer during thorough, months-long investigations of the colleges in question. Every aspect of an institution’s process is examined thoroughly and comprehensively, with compiled data, documentation, and first-hand observation all being taken into consideration when determining whether or not to award accreditation.
What’s more, accreditation must be reaffirmed at regular intervals. This ensures that colleges and universities continue to keep their promises to students, which is as important to employers as it should be to you as a prospective student.
What is the Difference Between Regional and National Accreditation?
The difference between a "regionally accredited" and "nationally accredited" school is a very important one when choosing the institution you will attend. Regional accreditation is highly regarded around the world because it is a comprehensive, peer-reviewed process that ensures a consistent standard of quality for higher education institutions. It is rooted in the history of traditional brick-and-mortar colleges and universities, and CSU-Global is proud to be one of the few fully accredited online universities.
Regional accreditation standards require that up to one-third of a degree program’s curriculum includes general education courses in social, natural and physical sciences, English, math, humanities, and art. Colleges and universities that are regionally accredited usually only accept transfer credits or degrees from other regionally accredited institutions.
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is part of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. The HLC accredits and thereby grants membership to educational institutions in the North Central region: Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The HLC is recognized by both the U.S. Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
The HLC has designed the accreditation process to achieve its mission: Serving the common good by assuring and advancing the quality of higher education.
HLC accreditation is based on the thorough evaluation and fulfillment of five specific criteria:
- Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct
- Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support
- Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement
- Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness