Discovering if your school is regionally accredited is very important when working towards seeking an education beyond high school. When a school isn’t accredited regionally there are a lot of drawbacks that can occur. First of all a lack of accreditation means that the school may not be eligible for financial aid. This means that you will have to pay for the school through scholarships and other financial options they offer but still it will be much more difficult than with federal aid. Schools that are not regionally accredited also tend to have bad reputations amongst employers. Attending a school without an accreditation makes it seems less official and many employers will be hesitant to hire a graduate from one unless they are able to show some sort of proficiency in the field that they are interested in. Discovering if your school is accredited or not is a good indicator of whether you should attend it and it will help you realize the risks involved with attending it as well as what possible benefits come from attending unaccredited schools throughout the region.
The best way to find out if a school is regionally accredited is to find out what regional accreditor your school has. There are six regional accreditation agencies and they are the only ones which are recognized as legitimate accreditors based on the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Learning. These six agencies are the New England Association of Schools and Colleges which accredit schools in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Connecticut as well as schools overseas in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. The North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement accredits school in central United States. This accreditation agency accredits schools within the states of Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, and West Virginia, along with Wyoming as well as several other states. The Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges accredits the schools within Delaware, DC, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico and internationally as well in Central America, the Middle East, and Europe.
The Southern Association of Schools and College presides over accrediting all colleges in the south such as Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South and North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas, Georgia, and Latin America. While the Western Association of Schools and Colleges as well as the Northwest Association of Schools and colleges accredit over the rest of the states in the U.S.
Discovering if Your College is Accredited
There are several ways you can find out if your college is accredited or not. Most colleges are accredited but it is always best to make sure before you begin to apply to them especially if those colleges are more recent or have had accreditation problems in the past. The fastest way to figure out whether a college is accredited is to search online.
On the schools website there should be source or a mention of whether the school is accredited or not. It may require some searching if it is not directly on one of the home pages but several colleges that have their accreditation express it on their sites especially to those considering attending the school.
If you cannot find any information on whether the school is accredited or not on your own you can contact them directly by phone or email. Most colleges are quick to respond in both manners and will usually explain if they are accredited or not as well as the region that accredits them and any other information that you would want to know. This is one of the fastest methods to discover the accreditation of your school.
The final method is to search the United States Department of Education and their database. This database has a list of every college that is accredited as well as what region it is accredited under. This database will give you all of the information you want. If you want you can use the Council for Higher Education Accreditation website instead to discover if your school is accredited as well by both organizations.
Find Out Sooner Rather Than Later
It is best to quickly decide if the college you are planning on attending has their accreditation regionally or not. Those that do not have it should be looked upon with a bit of skepticism before applying to them. Also remember that being accredited does not mean that the degree you are working towards will be accepted by future employers or other schools so it is wise to learn beforehand what schools are more widely accepted than others as well as their accreditation to ensure that you make an informed decision about your education.