Accreditation is a peer review of the quality of an educational institution, college, school, or program. Students, parents, and governments rely on accreditation to determine if an institution or program provides students with a quality education.
Accreditation is an indication of quality. Accreditation could also determine financial aid eligibility and is often a criterion for the transfer of course credits. Program accreditation or approval may be required to enable graduates to sit for licensure/certification tests.
An institutional accrediting body examines the institution of higher education as a whole. Institutional accreditors are either regional or national accreditors.
Regional accreditation is a peer review process used to determine the quality of education at an institution within its geographic region. The regional accrediting bodies accredit approximately 3,000 higher education institutions and are recognized by the US Department of Education. There are six regional accrediting bodies and they are:
National accreditation is not generally based on geographic location, but rather faith-related or career-related. Not all national accreditors are recognized by the US Department of Education. For more information please see http://www.chea.org/pdf/CHEA_USDE_AllAccred.pdf
A programmatic accrediting body examines a particular program within institution of higher education. There are many programmatic accrediting bodies and it is important to research which programmatic accreditation is applicable to your particular area of study.