How Do Higher Education Institutions Receive Accreditation?
The quality of students a nation produces depends on the kind of education it gives. Nowadays, students do not only have a right to be educated but also the right to receive a quality education - an education that will ensure their future. The objective of a higher education is to equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to become productive and competitive members of society. This is the reason why colleges and universities undergo accreditation. Accreditation is a process where different colleges, universities and other institutions offering higher education are evaluated. Certain standards for their operations and services are set up and such standards have to be met. This is to ensure that students will receive the best education possible. Accreditation not only assures the quality of education offered by the institution or program but also assists in their improvement.
Accreditation is done through the accrediting agencies composed of private educational institutions of regional or national scope. Private educational associations developed criteria that reflect the qualities of a sound educational program. The accrediting agencies then make sure that such criteria are met and the school is operating at basic levels of quality. But not all schools need to be accredited. Schools offering specialty training programs in the technical and art fields do not require accreditation. Accreditation may be institutional or specialized or programmatic. Institutional accreditation applies to an entire institution. On the other hand, specialized or programmatic accreditation applies to schools, departments or programs that are parts of an institution. A college is assessed based on their overall mission, objectives and goals, student requirements for admissions, services available to the students, quality of education and the reputation of the faculty. The procedure for accreditation begins with the setting of standards by the accrediting agency and various educational institutions. The institution seeking accreditation prepares a self-evaluation study to measure its performance against the standards established. The accrediting agency sends a team to visit the institution to determine whether it meets the established standards. Once the agency is satisfied that the school meets the standards, an accreditation or pre-accreditation status is granted and lists the institution in an official publication along with other accredited or pre-accredited schools. Such institution is monitored throughout the period of accreditation granted to ascertain that the standards are continuously met. Re-evaluation of institutions accredited is also conducted periodically by the agency whenever such is warranted. The list of recognized accrediting agencies can be found in a database.
Accreditation benefits both students and the institution of higher learning. Through accreditation, a student is given the best education possible in accordance with the standards provided. It also eases the transition as a student moves from one accredited school to another. Students may also become eligible for scholarships or admission to other colleges, technical schools or military programs where such institutions require students to come from accredited schools. Accreditation guarantees a quality education that provides an efficient learning environment to produce students that are competitive and skilled. It extends across state lines so all students in accredited schools will have the same quality of education enjoyed by other students studying in another state. Choosing the right college or university is important in realizing a thriving career after graduation. Colleges who have undergone the accreditation process are more likely to offer degrees that are relevant in the workforce and recognized by employers. Most potential employers also require applicants to come from accredited schools. Enrolling in accredited colleges and universities does not automatically guarantee success. It depends on the student to fully utilize the education one gets. What it guarantees is a quality education for every student in every state.
Associations for Higher Education
- American Association for Higher Education
- American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
- American Association of University Professors
- Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges
- Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers
- College and University Personnel Association
- Council on Law and Higher Education
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education
- North American Association of Summer Sessions
- Teacher Education Accreditation Council