In the United States, accreditation is a key way that students, families, government officials, and the press know that an institution or program provides a quality education. The US Department of Education (USDE) does not accredit educational institutions and/or programs. However, the USDE is required by law to publish the list of the accrediting agencies which includes non-governmental entities as well as governmental agencies.
In the US, colleges and universities are accredited by one of 19 recognized institutional accrediting organizations. Programs are accredited by one of approximately 60 recognized programmatic accrediting organizations. Accrediting organizations have been reviewed for quality by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the United States Department of Education (USDE).
The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) is a national advocate and institutional voice for self-regulation of academic quality through accreditation, CHEA is an association of 3,000 degree-granting colleges and universities and recognizes 60 institutional and programmatic accrediting organizations.
The CHEA Database of Institutions and Programs Accredited by Recognized United States Accrediting Organizations contains information about more than 7,700 degree-granting and non-degree-granting postsecondary institutions and 18,700 programs in the U.S. (http://www.chea.org/intdb/list.asp?Key=a)
Accreditation serves the following purposes:
- Ensuring quality: Accreditation is the primary means by which colleges, universities, and programs ensure quality to students and the public.
- Allowing access to federal funds: Students who want federal (and sometimes stategrants and loans need to attend a college, university, or program that is accredited.
- Easing transfer: Accreditation is important to students for a smooth transfer.
- Ensuring employer confidence: The accreditation status of an institution or program is important to employers when evaluating credentials of job applicants.
The Cultural Division in the UAE Embassy authenticates only degrees, certificates, diplomas, and transcripts from the Regional Accrediting Organizations. Also programs, such as Business, Engineering, Computer Science, Education, Medicine, and others programs, have to be accredited by the appropriate Professional Accrediting Organization.
In the United States, accreditors are private, nongovernmental organizations created for the specific purpose of reviewing higher education institutions and programs for quality. In most other countries, accreditation (or quality assurance is carried out by government organizations).
More than 7,700 degree-granting and non-degree-granting postsecondary institutions and 18,7000 programs in the U.S. are accredited by recognized United States Accrediting Organizations. The accrediting organizations recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the US Department of Education are:
- Regional Accrediting Organizations
- Faith-Related Accrediting Organizations
- Private Career Accrediting Organizations
- Specialized/Professional Accrediting Organizations
N.B: The Cultural Division in the UAE Embassy authenticates only degrees, certificates, diplomas, and transcripts from postsecondary institutions recognized by Regional Accrediting Organizations. Also programs, such as Business, Engineering, Computer Science, Education, Medicine, and others programs, have to be accredited by the appropriate Professional Accrediting Organization.
Regional Accrediting Organizations
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Higher Education (MSA-CHI) (http://www.msche.org/): Educational institutions in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands, as well as schools for American children in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) (http://www.neasc.org/): Educational institutions in the six New England states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. It has two commissions in the Higher Education sector:
- The Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE)
- Commission on Technical and Career Institutions (CTCI)
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) (http://www.ncacasi.org/): Educational institutions in Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming. It has two commissions in the Higher Education sector:
- Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement, Board of Trustees (CASI) accredits elementary and secondary schools as well as non-degree-granting postsecondary schools.
- The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accredits degree-granting colleges and universities.
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) (http://www.nwccu.org/) : Postsecondary institutions, colleges and universities, in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington).
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) (http://www.wascweb.org/) : Educational institutions in California, Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, Micronesia, Palau, and Northern Marianas Islands. It has two commissions in the Higher Education sector:
- The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) evaluates and accredits public and private postsecondary institutions that offer two-year education programs and award the associate degree.
- The Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities (ACSCU)
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACS) (http://www.sacscoc.org/) : Educational institutions in Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee and Texas.
These accreditations typically cover a specific program of professional education or training, but in some cases they cover the whole institution. The Cultural Division in the UAE Embassy requires the accreditation of the programs by their appropriate Professional and Specialized Accrediting Organizations, such as:
- Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
- Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
• Computer Science
- Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Computing Accrediting Commission (ABET-CAC)
Please refer to the link below to find out the list of all Professional and Specialized Accrediting Organizations and Regional Accrediting Organizations recognized by CHEA: