What is accreditation?

The U.S. Department of Education defines accreditation as “the recognition that an institution maintains standards requisite for its graduates to gain admission to other reputable institutions of higher learning or to achieve credentials for professional practice.”  The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions meet acceptable levels of quality.

The U.S. Department of Education makes it very clear that there are “no specific federal laws or regulations governing the recognition of associations that accredit primary and secondary schools, and the U.S. Department of Education has no oversight role with respect to school accreditation.”    The U.S. Department of Education “does not have the authority to accredit private or public elementary or secondary schools, and the Department does not recognize accrediting bodies for the accreditation of private or public elementary and secondary schools. However, the U.S. Department of Education does recognize accrediting bodies for the accreditation of institutions of higher (postsecondary) education. If an accrediting body which is recognized by the Department for higher education also accredits elementary and secondary schools, the Department’s recognition applies only to the agency’s accreditation of postsecondary institutions.