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Monday, July 9, 2012

What is the difference between Regionally Accredited & Nationally Accredited Colleges?

What is the difference between Regionally Accredited & Nationally Accredited Colleges?
It is a well known fact that anyone who is considering an online degree program should only go for an accredited one. However, there are nationally accredited programs and regionally accredited programs. What is the difference and which is the best?

Unaccredited Online Degrees

Most employers, colleges, and universities consider diplomas and credentials from unaccredited online degree courses as a deception. It is not only an issue of selecting an accredited online degree program; you must also choose the proper accreditation for an online degree program. These days this is becoming more and more complicated. Which category of accreditation is best and what is the difference? Should you choose?

National accreditation?

Regional accreditation?

Specialized accreditation?

What Does Accreditation Means?

The first thing to understand is the meaning of accreditation. It means that an accrediting group has gone to the school’s campus, checked its programs for quality standards, and has approved the online degree program’s courses. Regional and national accreditation is two different kinds of accreditation for an online degree. Both are voluntary and are not imposed by any governing body.

Regional Accreditation Groups

Regional accreditation groups cover particular parts of the United States. Each section has a regional accreditation agency. The U.S. is divided into 6 regions for this purpose. The six regional accreditation agencies are:

Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges

Middle State Association of Colleges and Schools (Commission on Higher Education)

North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (The Higher Learning Commission)

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (Commission on Colleges)

Western Association of Schools and Colleges (Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges and Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities)

New England Association of Schools and Colleges (Commission on Technical and Career Institutions and Commission on Institutions of Higher Education)

United States Department of Education recognizes all of these accreditation agencies. An accredited distance learning degree program will have regional accreditation by one of the above six agencies. The U.S. Department of Education does not recognize all national accreditation programs.

Additional Factors

Cost is also an important factor. In general, regionally accredited online degrees are more expensive than nationally accredited programs. The low tuition of nationally accredited programs is a big enticement, if one will not be transferring credits and is aware of the fact that many employers will accept degrees that are nationally accredited one may want to consider programs that have this type of accreditation. All factors must be considered when making this decision.

Be aware of the accreditation of any online program that you are considering before enrolling ensuring that this program will meet your needs.

Article Source Accredited Online Colleges

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