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ERIC Number: ED569225
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Nov
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 3
An Overview of U.S. Accreditation. Revised November 2015
Eaton, Judith S.
Council for Higher Education Accreditation
This publication provides a general description of the key features of U.S. accreditation of higher education and recognition of accrediting organizations. Accreditation in the United States is about quality assurance and quality improvement. It is a process to scrutinize higher education institutions and programs. Accreditation is private (nongovernmental) and nonprofit--an outgrowth of the higher education community and not of government. It is funded primarily by the institutions and programs that are accredited. Accreditation has a complex relationship with government, especially in relation to funding higher education. It adds value to society through assuring quality, enabling government to make sound judgments about the use of public funds, aiding the private sector in decisions about financial support and easing transfer of credit. Recognition in the United States is about scrutiny of the quality and effectiveness of accrediting organizations. It is carried out by the higher education enterprise through the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), a private body, and by the United States Department of Education (USDE). CHEA recognition is funded by institutional dues; USDE recognition is funded by the U.S. Congress. The goals of the two recognition processes are different: (1) CHEA: Assuring that accrediting organizations contribute to maintaining and improving academic quality; and (2) USDE: Assuring that accrediting organizations contribute to maintaining the soundness of institutions and programs that receive federal funds. The two recognition processes are similar: self-evaluation based on standards, site visit and report, award of recognition status. Recognition adds value to society as a vital part of accreditation accountability or "accrediting the accreditors." [For the 2012 edition, see ED544355.]
Council for Higher Education Accreditation. One Dupont Circle Suite 510, Washington, DC 20016. Tel: 202-955-6126; Fax: 202-955-6129; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Council for Higher Education Accreditation