Thursday, March 15, 2007

National vs. Regional Accreditation

Hey, you probably thought that accreditation was accreditation, right? Wrong! That's the way some of these nationally accredited schools trick you.

There is regional and national accreditation. Regional accreditation has been around for awhile and the vast majority of these schools are non-profits and academic. National accreditation is a somewhat recent phenomena and grew out of a desire for for-profit schools to gain more legitimacy. The vast majority of nationally accredited schools are vocational or technical in nature.

If you want to go to an truly academic school you go to a regionally accredited school. Every public university is regionally accredited. Every private university of any merit is regionally accredited. We are talking about University of Washington, Washington State University, Stanford University, the University of California school system, New York University. These are "real" schools and they are accredited by six regionally accrediting agencies. And generally they accept each other's credits which is the most important aspect of things.

National accreditation is conferred on vocational schools, even if they offer degrees. They are over 50 national accrediting agencies which accredit such varied schools as landscape design, denture making, medical assistant and so on. Some of these agencies also accredit academic schools, such as well Crown College. However, generally regionally accredited schools will not accept credits from nationally accredited schools.

Regional accreditation is far better than national accreditation, especially where its most important and that is the transfer of credits. I personally think its a a no-brainer but you have many institutions which are nationally accredited which want you to think that there is no difference between the two. Of course, they have a conflict of interest!