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Benefits of Accreditation

Accreditation Is

A highly successful and well-tested system of quality assurance and quality improvement.
An outstanding example of an effective public-private partnership.
An outstanding example of reliable and responsible self-regulation.


The primary public symbol of legitimate higher education for over 100 years

  • A key litmus test of threshold academic quality
  • 7,000 higher education institutions and more than 19,000 programs are accredited

The primary “reliable authority” for federal and state governments funding for higher education

  • Accreditation required for student access to federal and state grants and loans
  • Accreditation required for institution and program access to other federal funds for research and programs
  • State funds for operating

The primary reliable authority for private sector financial support for higher education

  • Accreditation required to obtain private foundation support
  • Accreditation required to obtain corporate support: gifts, research and tuition assistance

A major source of protection against fraud and abuse for students and consumers

  • Primary bulwark against degree mills and accreditation mills

Successful in encouraging major innovation while maintaining quality over the years, such as

  • The development of community colleges
  • The advent of distance learning
  • The growth of for-profit higher education

Cost-efficient in the use of resources to achieve its goals

  • Expended more than $92 million in 2006−2007
  • Operated 80 recognized accrediting organizations with 650 full- and part-time staff
  • Involved more than 18,000 volunteers
  • Took major action with regard to approximately 2,495 institutions and 3,965 programs

Central to states carrying out licensure of the professions

  • Many states require that professional programs are accredited
  • Many states require that individuals who sit for licensure examinations in the professions have graduated from accredited programs

Essential to international mobility; vital to international students, governments and higher education institutions for:

  • Judgments about transfer of credit
  • Judgments about recognition of qualifications and degrees
  • Judgments about entry to U.S. higher education from other countries

Responsive to current climate of accountability

  • Equipped to meet current challenges
  • Significant progress with student learning outcomes
  • Significant progress with institutional performance
  • Major progress in greater transparency
  • Major progress with transfer of credit

Vital to maintaining key features of higher education that have contributed to the enterprise as among the best in the world

  • A diverse array of institutions
  • A mission-based system
  • Responsible institutional independence for academic judgment
  • Responsible academic freedom

For additional information, please contact the Council for Higher Education Accreditation®.