What is college accreditation, and why is it important?

Accreditation is a voluntary, independent review of educational programs to determine that the education provided is of uniform and sound quality. Being awarded accreditation ensures that an institution has been evaluated and that it met set standards of quality determined by the accrediting organization granting the accreditation. A college or university’s accreditation is maintained by continued adherence to the set criteria. The most recognized type of accreditation in the United States is regional accreditation, in which a school is accredited by one of six geographically dispersed agencies approved by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). In Indiana, we look for regional accreditation by the North Central Association of College and Schools/Higher Learning Commission.