what is it? What does it mean to me as a student?
Accreditation is a system or process for providing public confidence and a
tool for improvement used by educational institutions.
It promises a basic level of
quality in an educational institution through a process that examines a
school's faculty, course content, recruiting practices, admissions
procedures, and more.
The purpose of accreditation is similar
world wide - quality, efficiency, public trust and accountability,
- to ensure quality education programs
through the use of standards and rigorous evaluation criteria
- to stimulate institutions toward
higher levels of quality and efficiency
- to provide a system for public trust
- to demonstrate to the various levels
of government a basic level of quality in an institution and its
courses or programs for the purpose of certifying eligibility to
receive Federal funds, which include student loans and grants, i.e.
vocational rehabilitation, veterans education, HRDC/EI skills training
benefits, provincial CASS programs
(check with your local, state, provincial or federal agencies to
learn much about the reputation of an institution and the general quality
of its academic programs from its accreditation status.
In most countries education
providers are nationally controlled and regulated, usually by a single
government agency such as a Ministry of Education. In the U.S. and Canada,
however, there is no centralized authority. Instead, regional accreditation
bodies ensure high standards in academic programs and institutions.
The associations or governing bodies that grant accreditation have
responsibility for establishing criteria, visiting and evaluating
institutions, and awarding accreditation to those programs and
institutions that meet their criteria.
The Importance of Accreditation
Perhaps the best evidence that any online education program is
worth our time and money comes from the school's accreditation. The
accreditation process ensures the school has been reviewed in terms of its
academics, recruiting, admissions, faculty, and more. It signals to us
that the institution will provide quality education and continuously work
to improve its overall effectiveness and student outcomes.
CHEA, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, reminds us that
accreditation also serves other purposes beyond assuring academic quality
to students and the public.
- Accreditation is required for
students to gain access to federal funds for grants and loans in the
- Accreditation makes credit transfer
among colleges and universities easier.
- Employers look for accreditation
status when evaluating credentials of job applicants and offering
financial support to employees
When you see that an
institution is accredited by a recognized authority, you can be sure of
its integrity and commitment to students.
Types of Accreditation
Institutions and individual programs within an institution
participate in the accreditation process. The two types of accreditation
commonly used throughout the world are:
(this is JKL's accreditation)
Specialized, professional, or
Institutional accreditation is awarded when a college or university meets
the prescribed standards of the accrediting agency. The effectiveness of
the entire school operation - including academics, administration, and
related services -- is reviewed and certified. This affirmation ensures a
high degree of quality for the public and is recognized throughout the
Specialized, professional, or programmatic
Departments, programs, or schools within a college or university that is
institutionally accredited often seek specialized accreditation.
Specialized accreditation focuses on a narrower set of standards
particular to that field of study - engineering, law, teaching, and
nursing are examples.
The licensing boards that regulate some professions may require a student
to attend programs that hold special accreditation, so it is important for
the prospective student to know what is required to be a licensed
practitioner in their field.