Accreditation is a process of external quality review created and used by higher education to scrutinize colleges, universities and programs for quality assurance and quality improvement. Although accreditation is carried out by private, nonprofit organizations, the federal government relies on accreditation to assure the quality of institutions and programs for which the government provides federal aid to students. While U.S. law and regulations on accreditation most directly address accrediting organizations, they have an impact on accredited higher education institutions and programs and on the requirements of accrediting organizations.

Lock = Available only to members of the contributing organization.



U.S. Department of Education Regulations Implementing the HEOA, with respect to Accreditation in the United States:
The Criteria for Recognition - Basic Eligibility Requirements
The Recognition Process
Department Responsibilities

Resource Pages


Recognized Accrediting Organization

Recognized Accrediting Organizations
CHEA, March 2017

Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) Database of Institutions and Programs Accredited by Recognized U.S. Accrediting Organizations
2017, CHEA

Directory of CHEA-Recognized Accrediting Organizations
2016-2017, CHEA

Accreditation and Recognition in the United States
2016, CHEA

Accreditation Reform Lock

Going the Distance on State Authorization: Institutional Risks and Responsibilites Lock

What General Counsel Need to Know About Accreditation Lock
Eaton, Meers, NACUA, Sibolski

State Authorization and Distance Education: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Lock
Jonathan Tarnow, Michael Goldstein, William Tricomi

Reference Guide: Regional Accreditation Standards Related to Admission and Recruitment

CAEP Issues New Teacher Preparation Standards as Congress Conducts HEA Hearings: NAICU Washington Update

Federalizing Accreditation: A Quandary for Higher Education
2011, CHEA, Judith Eaton

CHEA Video: Accreditation and Its Value to You
2011, CHEA

CHEA Video: Types of Accreditation: What's the Difference?
2011, CHEA

CHEA Video: Degree Mills and Accreditation Mills
2011, CHEA

CHEA Video: Council for Higher Education Accreditation
2011, CHEA

State Uses of Accreditation: Results of a Fifty-State Inventory
2010, CHEA

Who Watches the Watchman? Thoughts on the Federal Relationship to Accreditation in Higher Education
2009, CHEA, Matthew Finkin

Assuring Academic Quality in the 21st Century: Self-Regulation in a New Era
2012, ACE

The Condition of Accreditation in 2013
2013, CHEA