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How To Check The University Accreditation

As an aspiring student or a professional looking to further your education, choosing the right university is a critical decision. One of the most important factors to consider is whether the university is accredited. Accreditation ensures that the institution meets certain standards of quality and provides education that is recognized and respected by employers and other educational institutions. In this article, we will guide you through the process of checking the university’s accreditation status.

What is University Accreditation?

Accreditation is a process of validation in which an external body evaluates an educational institution to ensure it meets specific criteria and standards of quality. These criteria can include factors like faculty qualifications, curriculum, facilities, student support services, and more. Accreditation is typically carried out by regional or national accrediting agencies that are recognized by the government or relevant accrediting bodies.

Why is Accreditation Important?

Accreditation is essential for several reasons:

  1. Quality Assurance: Accredited universities are held to higher standards of education, ensuring that you receive a quality education.
  2. Transfer of Credits: If you plan to transfer to another institution or pursue higher studies, accredited university credits are more likely to be accepted by other accredited universities.
  3. Employment Opportunities: Many employers prefer candidates with degrees from accredited universities, as it reflects the credibility and rigor of your education.
  4. Financial Aid Eligibility: Accreditation is often a requirement for students to be eligible for federal financial aid programs.
  5. Professional Licensing: Some professions require degrees from accredited institutions to obtain licenses.

How To Check University Accreditation

Here’s a step-by-step guide to checking the accreditation status of a university:

Step 1: Identify the Accrediting Agency

Start by finding out the accrediting agency responsible for evaluating universities in your country or region. In the United States, for example, there are several regional accrediting agencies, such as the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) or the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

Step 2: Visit the Accrediting Agency’s Website

Once you have identified the accrediting agency, visit their official website. Most accrediting agencies maintain a database of accredited institutions on their websites.

Step 3: Search for the University

Use the search feature on the accrediting agency’s website to find the university you’re interested in. If the university is accredited, it should be listed in the database along with its accreditation status and the date of the last evaluation.

Step 4: Cross-Check with Government Databases

In some cases, government departments of education also maintain lists of accredited institutions. Cross-check the university’s accreditation status with these official databases for additional verification.

Step 5: Check for Specialized Accreditation

Apart from regional accreditation, certain programs or disciplines may have specialized accreditation. For instance, engineering programs might be accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Ensure that the specific program you are interested in has the necessary specialized accreditation.

Step 6: Reach Out to the University

If you still have doubts or cannot find the necessary information, don’t hesitate to contact the university directly. They should be able to provide you with details about their accreditation status.

Additional Tips for University Accreditation

While the previous section provided a step-by-step guide to check a university’s accreditation status, here are some additional tips to keep in mind during your research:

Look for Recognized Accrediting Agencies

Ensure that the accrediting agency responsible for evaluating the university is recognized and reputable. In many countries, there are official government bodies that oversee accreditation to maintain quality standards. Avoid institutions accredited by unrecognized or unapproved agencies, as their degrees might not hold the same value.

Verify the Accreditation Status Periodically

Accreditation is not a one-time event; it is an ongoing process. Institutions are periodically reevaluated to maintain their accreditation status. Check if the university’s accreditation is current and not close to expiration. This step ensures that the institution continues to meet the required standards.

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Consider International Accreditation

If you are considering studying abroad or pursuing a degree from an international university, research the accreditation standards specific to that country. International accreditation might differ from regional accreditation, but it is equally important for ensuring the quality and recognition of the education you receive.

Check for Warning Signs

Keep an eye out for any warning signs that might indicate a lack of accreditation or potential accreditation issues. For example:

  • Missing Information: If a university does not openly provide information about its accreditation status or avoids answering questions about it, it could be a red flag.
  • Claims of “Self-Accreditation”: Be cautious of institutions that claim to be “self-accredited” or use terms like “internationally recognized” without any official backing.
  • Rapid Degree Completion: Some institutions may claim to offer degrees in a very short period, which may not be possible in accredited programs.

Seek Advice from Educational Counselors

If you are uncertain or need further guidance in your university selection process, consider consulting educational counselors or advisors. They can provide valuable insights and help you make an informed decision based on your academic and career aspirations.

The Importance of Accreditation in Online Education

As the landscape of education evolves, more and more students are turning to online learning options. Whether it’s for convenience, flexibility, or access to specialized programs, online education has become a popular choice. However, when considering online universities, accreditation remains just as crucial as it is for traditional brick-and-mortar institutions. Let’s explore the importance of accreditation in the context of online education.

Ensuring Quality and Credibility

Accreditation plays a vital role in maintaining the quality and credibility of online education. It ensures that the institution meets certain standards in terms of faculty qualifications, curriculum, resources, and student support services. Accredited online universities are held to the same rigorous standards as their offline counterparts, providing students with a reliable and reputable learning experience.

Transferability of Credits

For students who plan to transfer credits to another institution or pursue further studies, accreditation is essential. Attending an accredited online university increases the likelihood of your credits being accepted by other accredited universities. This is particularly crucial if you intend to continue your education or switch to a different academic program later on.

Employment Opportunities

Employers value degrees from accredited universities, regardless of whether they were earned through online or traditional education. Accreditation assures employers that you have received a comprehensive and high-quality education, enhancing your employment prospects and career opportunities.

Access to Financial Aid

Many students rely on financial aid to pursue their educational goals. Accredited online universities are generally eligible for federal and state financial aid programs. If you need financial assistance to fund your education, attending an accredited institution opens up more options for financial aid.

Avoiding Diploma Mills

Accreditation helps protect students from falling prey to diploma mills—unscrupulous institutions that offer degrees without meeting the necessary educational standards. These diploma mills often provide degrees of little or no value, which can lead to wasted time and money. By attending an accredited online university, you can be confident that you are investing in a legitimate and valuable education.

Resources and Support

Accredited online universities tend to offer robust academic and student support services. These institutions prioritize the success of their students and provide resources like online libraries, tutoring, counseling, and technical support. Accreditation ensures that the online university is committed to providing a positive and productive learning experience.

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Accreditation and Specialized Online Programs

Just like traditional universities, specialized online programs may also have their own accreditation bodies. For instance, online nursing programs might be accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). When considering specialized online programs, be sure to check for both institutional and program-specific accreditation.

Tips for Identifying Legitimate Accreditation for Online Universities

While the importance of accreditation in online education cannot be overstated, it is also essential to be cautious and vigilant in identifying legitimate accreditation. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous institutions may attempt to deceive students by falsely claiming accreditation or associating with unrecognized accrediting agencies. Here are some tips to help you identify legitimate accreditation for online universities:

1. Research Recognized Accrediting Agencies

Start by researching recognized accrediting agencies relevant to your country or region. Look for accrediting agencies listed on official government websites or the U.S. Department of Education’s database of accredited postsecondary institutions and programs (for U.S.-based institutions). Cross-reference the accrediting agency mentioned by the online university with the official list to verify its legitimacy.

2. Check the University’s Website

Legitimate online universities will typically provide clear and transparent information about their accreditation status on their official website. Look for a dedicated webpage or section that explicitly mentions their accreditation and provides details about the accrediting agency.

3. Verify Accrediting Agencies’ Websites

Visit the official website of the accrediting agency mentioned by the online university. Legitimate accrediting agencies will have comprehensive information about the institutions they accredit, including a searchable database. Ensure that the online university you are interested in appears on the accrediting agency’s list of accredited institutions.

4. Cross-Check with Government Databases

In addition to the accrediting agencies’ websites, some governments maintain their own databases of accredited institutions. For example, in the United States, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) offers a database of accredited institutions and programs. Verify the university’s accreditation status with such official databases.

5. Avoid “Accreditation Mills”

Be wary of online universities that claim to be accredited by agencies that sound official but are actually accreditation mills. These mills sell accreditation to institutions without a rigorous evaluation process. Verify the legitimacy of accrediting agencies by checking if they are recognized by official government bodies or regional accrediting associations.

6. Check for Regional Accreditation

Regional accreditation is generally considered more reputable than national accreditation. Institutions with regional accreditation typically meet higher standards and are more widely accepted for credit transfer and recognition. Verify if the online university has regional accreditation, especially if you plan to transfer credits or pursue further studies.

7. Seek Independent Reviews and Recommendations

Look for independent reviews and recommendations about the online university you are considering. Websites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB), student forums, and educational review platforms can provide insights from current and former students. Positive reviews from reputable sources can give you confidence in the university’s legitimacy.

Staying Informed: Keeping Up with Accreditation Updates

As you progress through your academic journey, it’s essential to stay informed about changes or updates in accreditation status. Accreditation is not a static process, and institutions may experience changes in their status over time. Here are some tips to help you stay updated on accreditation changes:

1. Follow Official Accrediting Agencies

Stay connected with official accrediting agencies through their websites, newsletters, or social media platforms. Many accrediting agencies regularly update their databases and provide news and announcements about newly accredited institutions or changes in accreditation status. By following these updates, you can be informed about any developments regarding your chosen university.

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2. Set Up Google Alerts

Use Google Alerts to receive notifications whenever there are new articles or updates related to the online university’s accreditation status. Set up alerts with relevant keywords such as the university name, accrediting agency, or phrases like “university accreditation update.” This way, you can receive real-time information without actively searching for it.

3. Check University Websites Annually

Even after enrolling in an online university, make it a habit to check the university’s official website annually for any updates related to accreditation. Universities usually provide the most current information on their websites, and you can find any changes in accreditation status or newly obtained accreditations.

4. Stay Informed Through Educational Forums

Participate in educational forums or social media groups where students and professionals discuss academic matters. These platforms can be a valuable source of information, as people often share their experiences and knowledge about different universities, including updates on accreditation.

5. Monitor Government and Education News

Keep an eye on news related to government regulations and education policies. Sometimes, changes in government guidelines can impact accreditation processes and requirements. Being aware of such developments can help you understand the broader context of accreditation changes.

6. Seek Guidance from University Advisors

If you are a current student at the online university, reach out to your academic advisors or counselors for information about accreditation updates. They should have access to the most up-to-date information and can guide you through any changes that may affect your academic plans.

7. Review Accreditation Reports

Many accrediting agencies publish reports after conducting evaluations. These reports provide insights into the strengths and weaknesses of the institution’s programs and services. Reviewing these reports can give you a comprehensive understanding of the university’s performance and commitment to quality education.


Choosing an accredited university is a critical decision that can significantly impact your educational and professional journey. Whether you opt for a traditional brick-and-mortar institution or an online university, accreditation remains a key factor in ensuring the quality, credibility, and recognition of your degree.

Throughout this article, we have explored the importance of accreditation and provided a step-by-step guide on how to check a university’s accreditation status. By identifying recognized accrediting agencies, visiting official websites, and cross-referencing information, you can confidently assess the legitimacy of an institution’s accreditation.

Additionally, we emphasized the significance of accreditation in online education, where the popularity of virtual learning continues to grow. Accreditation plays a crucial role in verifying the quality and credibility of online universities, offering students access to financial aid, transferable credits, and valuable student support services.

Moreover, we discussed the need to be cautious and vigilant in identifying legitimate accreditation, especially in the realm of online education. By following the provided tips and conducting thorough research, you can protect yourself from potential diploma mills or institutions with dubious accreditation claims.

Finally, we stressed the importance of staying informed about accreditation updates even after enrolling in an institution. Regularly checking official sources, setting up alerts, and seeking advice from university advisors will help you stay aware of any changes that may affect your educational plans.

Remember, accreditation is an investment in your education and future. By choosing an accredited university, you can embark on a rewarding and successful academic journey, ensuring that your degree holds the value and recognition it deserves.

In conclusion, always prioritize accreditation when selecting an educational institution. Whether you’re pursuing a degree on campus or exploring the world of online education, accreditation is the foundation of a quality education and the gateway to a promising future. So, take the time to research, verify, and choose wisely—your education and career aspirations depend on it.

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