Regional Accreditation

When people talk about accreditation, they’re often talking regional. Regional Accreditation has been around longer, since the nineteenth century in fact. Many colleges and universities, with the traditional academic programs leading to bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees, are Regionally Accredited. But if the program you’re considering is more career-oriented (e.g. health technology, ministry, information technology), you may need to check out National Accreditation.

This is one of the unique characteristics of accreditation as developed in the United States: it grew from the ground up, rather than being created from the top down.  In other countries all the standards and regulations are set and maintained at the government level.

To this day, the Regional and National Accrediting Commissions are not affiliated with State or Federal Governments, though they are in turn regulated by such entities as the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

The six Regional Commissions almost always accept each other’s accreditation. If, for example, you obtain a BA in English from a university or college in the New England Region, there is every likelihood that your BA will be accepted by a regionally accredited school in California, should you decide to do an MA in English there. Nevertheless, there may be some few cases where this does not apply, so it is a smart idea to check first. 

You should be aware that Regional Accreditation does not equal National Accreditation. If your certificate or degree is from a Regionally Accredited school, and you’re planning to take a course from a Nationally Accredited school, this won’t be a problem, but if you’re trying to move the other direction it most certainly will. Your Nationally Accredited program will most likely not be accepted at the Regional level, though your new school may consider giving you credit for some of your courses.

The fact that certain schools and employers care about your program’s status should up your interest in accreditation, but there’s another factor that could prove to be even more important: money! Many of the grants, bursaries and subsidies you apply for to fund your education ONLY apply to accredited programs. 

When you start looking into Regional Accreditation, you may be confused by the number of commissions. The list may range from six to ten, depending on how they are grouped. For the purposes of our discussion, we will number them as six following the six regions. The extra members of the list are sub-groups within the six geographical regions: New England, Middle, Southern, North Central, Northwest, and Western. To see if your school is Regionally Accredited, visit the appropriate region below.

Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Students heading out west to California, Hawaii and the islands of the Pacific Rim, need to visit the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. This is the youngest of the Regional Commissions, formed in 1962.

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Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

If you’re looking at a school in the sunny South, find out if your chosen institution is Regionally Accredited. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has as its mandate the eleven states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

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Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Rugged mountains and vast forests form part of this Region, but you’ll find first-rate Colleges and Universities as well, accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and UniversitiesIf you’re attending a school in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah or Washington, you can check it out here.

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North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools is the Regional Commission with authority over Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. If the school you’re planning to attend is located in one of these states, you owe it to yourself to find out if it’s accredited.

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New England Association of Schools and Colleges

If you’re choosing a school in historic New England, you’ll want to find out if it’s accredited.  The New England Association of Schools and Colleges has jurisdiction in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

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Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Higher Education

The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools is the second oldest Regional Association. If your chosen school is in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, D.C., Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands, you can find out if it’s accredited here.

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Online Schools (13)

Below please find's list of accredited Online Colleges. Click on the school of your choice and fill out the form to request free information.

  • Advertising (Bachelor's degree)
  • Animation, Interactive Technology, Video Graphics and Special Effects (Bachelor's degree)
  • Apparel and Accessories Marketing Operations (Bachelor's degree)
  • Commercial Photography (Bachelor's degree)
  • Computer Graphics (Bachelor's degree)
Ottawa University Online Program offerings:
  • Business Administration and Management, General (Master's degree)
  • Business Administration and Management, General (Bachelor's degree)
  • Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Administration (Bachelor's degree)
  • Curriculum and Instruction (Master's degree)
  • Educational Administration and Supervision, Other (Master's degree)