Accreditation is a voluntary,
nongovernmental process whereby a recognized organization/agency grants public
recognition to a unit of an educational organization (school, institute,
college, university, specialized program of study) indicating that it meets
established standards of quality, as determined through initial and periodic
self-study and evaluation by peers. In the absence of centralized authority over
institutions of higher education at the national level, the fifty states assume
varying degrees of control over educational institutions. As a result,
institutions vary widely in the character and quality of their programs. The
essential purpose of the accreditation process is to provide a professional
judgment as to the quality of the educational institution or program(s) offered
and to encourage continual improvement.
Categories of Accreditation:
Institutional and Programmatic.
focuses on the quality and integrity of the institution as a whole,
assessing the achievement of the institution in meeting its own stated
mission, goals, and objectives. Institutional accreditation is granted by
both regional and national accreditation agencies.
accreditation focuses on the quality and integrity of individual programs of
study offered by institutions in the preparation of members of professional
or occupational fields. Accreditation is at the national level.
Recognized Accrediting Agencies.
Nongovernmental membership associations that have been determined to be
reliable authorities as to the quality of education or training provided by
institutions of higher education and the higher education programs these
agencies accredit are recognized by the
United States Department of Education (USDE)
and/or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The USDE and CHEA
publish lists of these nationally recognized agencies; they do not accredit
higher education institutions or programs.
Directory of Accrediting
Organizations Recognized by the
U. S. Department of Education (USDE) and
the Council for Higher Education Accreditation
Status of Accreditation
Association of Colleges & Schools - Commission on Colleges Members Only)
Programmatic (Alabama Public
Higher Education Institutions Only)
For additional information, contact:
Dr. Elizabeth C. French
Director, Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Planning