Accreditation is a process whereby educational institutions are qualified relative to the acceptance of credits and degrees in academia. State governmental educational systems do not, in themselves, accredit individual private schools. There are various organizations, with widely diversified program requirements and differing regulatory standards, which become accrediting agencies for private schools.
The accreditation process is completed by educational institutions through accrediting organizations that are recognized by the United States Department of Education, or not recognized by the United States Department of Education. The regional accrediting agencies, that are recognized by the United States Department of Education, consist of a number of private corporations that grant accreditation within certain geographical areas of the United States. There are excellent educational institutions that have chosen to become regionally accredited with them, but others, which are also excellent educational institutions, have chosen to become accredited by a non-regional, nongovernmental, independent accrediting organization, such as the Evangelical Accrediting Association.
Accreditation is the process whereby an external agency, such as the Evangelical Accrediting Association™, formulates certain standards and then verifies these standards, which have been mutually agreed upon by the religious institutions of higher education.
Accreditation is essential because it can assure quality in institutional education and the programs involved. It must be noted that accreditation is based on a voluntary, nongovernmental, review and evaluation. The accreditation process requires an educational institution to meet certain defined standards as set forth by a particular religious organization or the accrediting agency. These standards, or criteria, can change from state to state and from region to region. Basically, there are no two educational institutions that have the same structure, philosophies, teaching modalities, or evaluation criteria. This allows a certain latitude in the freedom to create specific institutional programs which are not designed to align to any local, state, territorial, regional, or national licensing or credentialing laws. There is no such requirement as a direct federal or state accreditation of a religious institution.
Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary
Accredit:To certify (a school, college, or the like) as meeting all formal official requirements of academic excellence, curriculum, facilities, etc.
Accredited: Officially recognized as meeting the essential requirements, as of academic excellence: accredited schools.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION: The USDE is in the business of approving the associations which do accredit schools (for the purpose of serving as gate keepers for Title IV Funding). This point must be understood in order to properly understand accreditation. Title IV Funding is the nearly 80 billion dollar congressionally approved annual money stream that flows from taxpayers to educational institutions that are accredited by an agency approved by the USDE. The reason that the USDE approves accrediting agencies is to assure control over the flow of Title IV Funding.
ACCREDITING ASSOCIATIONS: Accrediting Associations in the United States are not required to seek USDE recognition; however, schools which they accredit are not eligible to receive Title IV Funding. The USDE makes this point, "It should be noted that some institutions have chosen not to participate in the federal student aid program and therefore do not have to be approved by an accrediting agency recognized by the Department. While these institutions do not appear on the Department's list, they may be legitimate schools."
COUNCIL FOR HIGHER EDUCATION (CHEA): "There are institutions that may not be accredited....Forexample, the institution may be seeking accreditation, but the process is not complete. Or, a legitimate institution maychoose not to be accredited for reasons that do not relate to quality."
The Evangelical Accrediting Association™ is an accrediting agency which operates in the realm of higher education within the United States and foreign countries. The association has a standard of presenting excellence and accountability in Christian education.
In order to give each religious educational institution the opportunity to receive certification and/or accreditation, the association's directives have been designed with a precise and regulated process. The required standards, as set forth by the Evangelical Accrediting Association™ , provide opportunity for an experienced quality review.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
"The United States has no Federal ministry of education or other centralized authority excercising single national control over postsecondary educational institutions in this country. The states assume varying degrees of control over education, but, in general, institutions of higher education are permitted to operate with considerable independence and autonomy....
In order to ensure a basic level of quality, the practice of accreditation arose in the United States as a means of conducting nongovernmental, peer evaluation of educational institutions and programs."
SOURCE: Nationally Recognized Accrediting Agencies and Associations: Criteria and Procedures for listing by the U.S. Secretary of Education and Current List (September 1996), Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education.