Accreditation is one process used by the American higher education system to access and scrutinize the
quality of institutions of higher education. There are two types of institutional accreditation: regional
and national. Institutions with regional accreditation are nearly all degree-granting and non-profit. There
are six regional accrediting organizations across the United States that assess and monitor institutions in
their geographical area. National accrediting organizations, on the other hand, accredit both degree-granting
and non-degree-granting (career schools, for example) institutions. Additionally, many institutions with
national accreditation are for-profit. National acceditors are not traditionally limited by geographic area,
and have members spread across the country.
The United States Department of Education (USDOE) and Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)
recognize certain accrediting organizations and accept those organizations as sufficient for institutional
oversight. The USDOE recognizes accrediting organizations in accordance with federal law and regulations.
Institutions must be accredited by an accrediting organization recognized by the USDOE in order to offer
federal financial aid to students; those not accreditd by a USDOE-recognized accreditor cannot participate
in federal aid programs.
Regarding the transfer of credits, it is up to each institution to decide what to accept. However,
as a general rule, regionally-accredited institutions do not accept credits from nationally- or
Regional and national accreditation focuses on the institution as a whole, and does not look at individual
programs. In some cases, a program within an institutions may be accredited by a specialized accreditor
in a particular field. This is not required, however, and varies widely from institution to institution. Specialized
accreditors only examine a particular program and have no bearing on the quality of the institution as a whole.
For more information, see USDOE's page on accreditation.
In-state, regionally-accredited, non-profit institutions licensed to operate in Connecticut