Why You Should Choose an Accredited College Degree

Distance and e-learning programs are becoming more and more vital in the world of higher education. Through the use of new technological resources, online learning programs make it possible for more people in the United States, Canada, Australia, Europe, the United Kingdom, and around the globe to reach their educational goals.

The United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) says, "distance learning encompasses all technologies and supports the pursuit of life long learning for all."

But students everywhere need to understand the importance of getting a college degree from an accredited institution and the dangers of receiving a college degree from an institution without accreditation.


Workstudy Programs

Students should also know how to recognize and avoid "Diploma Mills" and "Accreditation Mills," which can be harmful to a student's educational journey and make it difficult for a student to reach his or her career goals.

Students, parents, educators, and all people interested in e-learning programs should know the facts about accreditation.

As the #1 e-learning resource on the web, World Wide Learn provides you with the information you need about accreditation. WorldWideLearn.com encourages students to educate themselves about accreditation.

Use this section as a resource to find out about the importance of accreditation and what accreditation really means to you!

Accreditation Questions and Answers

This section will answer some commonly asked questions about accreditation, accreditation bodies, why accreditation is important to you, and tips on how to recognize and avoid "Diploma Mills" and "Accreditation Mills."

Accreditation Questions

WHAT is accreditation?

Accreditation Answers

Accreditation ensures a basic level of quality in the education you receive from an institution. It also ensures your degrees will be recognized for the true achievements they are. It is the job of an accreditation organization to review colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher education to guarantee quality and improvement efforts.

Accreditation Questions

WHAT is an accreditation organization?

Accreditation Answers

In the United States, accreditation organizations are private and not affiliated with the government, though the government uses accreditation organizations to maintain the standards of the nation's colleges and universities. Accreditation organizations exist to review colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher education for standards of quality and improvement efforts. In most countries other than the Unites States, the government is responsible for accreditation.

Accreditation Questions

WHAT does accreditation have to do with my education?

Accreditation Answers

Accreditation is the tool we use to monitor, assess, and evaluate the standards and quality of the education a student receives at a college, university, or other institution of higher learning. Because of the process of accreditation, students, returning students, and families can trust that the education they are paying for is valuable and worthwhile.

While a student who attends an accredited college or university is well on his or her way to receiving a quality education, students should remember that a college or university's accreditation does not automatically guarantee a student's success. It is up to the individual student to make the most out of the education he or she is receiving! But if many students attending a college or university are not successful and do not demonstrate a high level of educational performance, an accreditation organization may need to step in to examine the effectiveness of the institution and evaluate what aspects can be improved.

One mission of an accreditation organization is to help colleges and universities achieve positive student learning outcomes.

Accreditation Questions

HOW does a college or university's accreditation status have an impact on my ability to get financial aid?

Accreditation Answers

Students who want or need to get federal (and sometimes state) loans or grants should be sure to enroll at a college or university that has accreditation.

In the United States, organization such as the USDE and the CHEA review accreditation organizations to make sure that they are using effective accrediting practices. The USDE must keep watch to make sure that all federal student financial aid funds are being used for effective and worthwhile academic institutions and programs that are giving students the quality education they deserve.

The USDE is concerned with factors such as a college or university's standards of student admission and practices of student recruitment, financial well-being, and student learning achievement outcomes.

Federal (and often state) financial aid is available only to students who enroll at a college, university, or other institution of higher learning that has been accredited by an accreditation organization that has been reviewed and approved by the USDE.

Accreditation Questions

HOW does a college or university's accreditation status have an impact on my ability to get a job after graduation?

Accreditation Answers

Most potential employers review a job applicant's educational history to make sure that he or she has received his or her education from a college, university, or program with accreditation. If your degree, diploma, or certificate comes from a school without accreditation, it could hurt your chances for future employment.

It is common for states to require that a college, university, or program be accredited when allowing students to acquire state licensure.

Accreditation Questions

WHAT if I am interested in a college or university that does not have accreditation?

Accreditation Answers

If a college, university, or program you are interested in applying to does not have recognized accreditation, you should do as much research as you can about the institution. A program or institution's lack of accreditation might mean that it is a new program or institution and has not yet met the minimum requirements to be considered for accreditation. You should make sure before enrolling in an unaccredited program or institution that the program or institution can be measured for effectiveness or quality in some way other than through the standard accreditation process.

Accreditation Questions

WHAT is a "Diploma Mill"?

Accreditation Answers

"Diploma Mills" offer education, certificates, diplomas, and degrees that are considered inauthentic or bogus. Degrees and certificates obtained from a "Diploma Mill" are frequently not recognized by other schools or by potential employers. Colleges, universities, and programs that are part of a "Diploma Mill" are not accredited or they may have received accreditation from an "Accreditation Mill."

Accreditation Questions

WHAT is an "Accreditation Mill"?

Accreditation Answers

"Accreditation Mills" offer bogus or inauthentic accreditation or certificates of educational quality to colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher learning. The federal government, USDE, and CHEA do not recognize accreditation from an "Accreditation Mill". Colleges, universities, and programs that have acquired accreditation from an "Accreditation Mill" are not considered to be accredited. Students who receive a degree from such schools do not have the benefit of a degree from a school with accreditation.

Accreditation Questions

HOW can I recognize a "Diploma Mill"?

Accreditation Answers

It is not always easy to recognize a "Diploma Mill". There are some common characteristics of "Diploma Mills," however, that should indicate to you the need to investigate further to find out whether you are dealing with an authentic institution or a "Diploma Mill".

"Diploma Mills" frequently

  • Make degrees, diplomas, and certificates available for purchase
  • Claim accreditation but show no proof of having been accredited by a genuine accreditation organization
  • Make degrees, diplomas, and certificates available in an extremely short period of time
  • Make degrees, diplomas, and certificates available through resume review only
  • Offer education, degrees, diploma, and certificates at a suspiciously low cost
  • Offer no information about location or faculty
  • Make claims and assert facts and statistics for which there is no proof

If a college, university, or program has been accredited by an accreditation organization with any or all of these characteristics, the organization may be an "Accreditation Mill," and students should investigate further.

Accreditation Questions

HOW can I recognize an "Accreditation Mill"?

Accreditation Answers

Like "Diploma Mills," it is not always easy to recognize an "Accreditation Mill". But there are some common characteristics of "Accreditation Mills" that should indicate to you the need to investigate further to find out whether you are dealing with an authentic accreditation organization or with an "Accreditation Mill".

"Accreditation Mills" frequently

  • Make accreditation status available for purchase
  • List colleges, universities, and programs that they have accredited, though the colleges, universities, and programs seem to have no relationship with the organization
  • Charge accreditation fees that are significantly higher than the accreditation fees charged by recognized accreditation organizations
  • Claim to be USDE or CHEA-recognized when there is no proof of this recognition
  • list few (and in some cases no) quality standards upon which they base their accreditation process
  • Offer accreditation status in a suspiciously short amount of time
  • Offer permanent accreditation without requiring review and renewal

If a college, university, or program has been accredited by an accreditation organization with any or all of these characteristics, the organization may be an "Accreditation Mill," and students should investigate further.

New students, returning students, families, and all people interested in e-learning programs should use this section as a beginning guide to information about accreditation.

New students, returning students, families, and all people interested in e-learning programs should use this section as a beginning guide to information about accreditation.

For more information

Visit the website of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)