What Regional Accreditation Is & Why It MattersPosted on March 10, 2021 | 10 min read
When looking for a career training program or a university or college to attend, one important consideration many people make is if it has regional or national accreditation. Your choice can affect many aspects of student life, and even life after completing studies. But what is regional accreditation and why does it matter? We will discuss it in this article.
Accreditation in a nutshell
Institutional accreditation is assessment that ensures an educational institution and the programs it offers meet quality standards. Through accreditation, companies and employers can ascertain whether a graduate came from a reputable institution and has obtained quality education. Accreditation is conducted by governing agencies and overseen by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) and the non-profit Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
Regional VS National Accreditation
Schools are generally classified as regionally or nationally accredited. There are significant differences between the two. We’ve outlined them below.
National accreditation is generally implemented for vocational, technical, skilled trades schools, and for-profit schools - schools that sell career training programs and educational products.
Regional accreditation reviews are conducted by designated private, non-government organizations for academic schools, non-profit and state-owned institutions. Regional accreditation is considered a top-tier accreditation and remains the most widely recognized type there is.
Regionally accredited colleges and universities are typically more expensive than nationally accredited ones.
Nationally accredited schools usually have a more lenient admissions process than regionally accredited ones. Schools with regional accreditation are more stringent when it comes to admitting students, and are this known for their high academic standards.
Transferring credits/ schools
This is one of the most crucial considerations when considering regional vs national accreditation - and understandably so, especially if you’re planning to switch schools or programs. In this regard, regionally accredited institutions afford students greater options. About 85 percent of schools in the US are regionally accredited (the rest being nationally accredited).More importantly, a student who comes from a regionally accredited institution can transfer credits to another regionally accredited school or a nationally accredited institution.
However, students who come from nationally accredited schools can usually only transfer credits if they are enrolling to another nationally accredited school. Case-to-case basis sometimes applies, but as a general rule, regionally accredited schools do not allow credits to be transferred from a nationally accredited institution.
Corporate tuition reimbursement
Some companies and employers offer tuition reimbursement. However, this mostly applies to graduates who completed their education in schools with regional accreditation. Those who graduated from nationally accredited institutions are not always qualified for such programs.
Given the differences of regional VS national accreditation, it makes sense why students and employers alike place great emphasis on regional accreditation.
Whatever you choose, bear in mind that the key is to make sure that a school is regionally or nationally accredited. Students of a non-accredited school are not eligible for federal financial aid, won’t be able to transfer to a regionally or nationally accredited school, and are usually less favored by employers when hiring compared to their counterparts who graduated from an accredited school.
We hope we were able to shed light on the question of “What is regional accreditation?”. However, if you need more information, feel free to send us an inquiry. We’d be happy to help out!
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