Accreditation is a voluntary peer review process by the higher education community
that aims to assure academic quality and accountability and to encourage improvement.
The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided meets acceptable levels
of quality. Accrediting agencies develop evaluation criteria and conduct peer evaluations
to assess whether or not those criteria are met.
There are two basic types of educational accreditation, one identified as “institutional”
and one referred to as “specialized” or “programmatic.” Institutional accreditation
normally applies to an entire institution, indicating that each of an institution’s
parts is contributing to the achievement of the institution’s objectives, although
not necessarily all at the same level of quality.
Institutional accreditation involves a comprehensive review of all institutional functions.
Accreditation is granted at the completion of a peer review process, and assures the
educational community, the general public, and other organizations that an accredited
institution has met high standards of quality and effectiveness.
Specialized accreditation normally applies to the evaluation of programs, departments,
or colleges which usually are parts of an institution. The unit accredited may be
as large as a college within a university or as small as a curriculum within a discipline.
The results of accreditation and quality of education surveys demonstrated that accreditation
has had a profound and enduring impact on institutions’ quality of education, regardless
of the size, resources, or enrollment.
The primary benefits of accreditation are to:
- Certify that the University has met established standards.
- Create goals for self-improvement and stimulate a general rising of standards.
- Assist prospective students in identifying acceptable institutions.
- Assist institutions in determining the acceptability of transfer credit.