Accreditation Process Overview

To understand the accreditation process, it helps to envision an organizational chart, similar to that which any type of business would prepare. At the top sits the U.S. Department of Education. The Department Secretary is charged with the responsibility of maintaining a list of accrediting agencies recognized across the nation as being capable of acting as reliable authorities in the accrediting process.

Two agencies sit under the U.S. Department of Education. These agencies are responsible for granting approval of smaller national and regional accrediting agencies. One is CHEA, or the Counsel on Higher Education Accreditation. Formed in 1996, CHEA was known previously as CORPA, (and CORPA was formerly known as COPA). The other is called ASPA, or the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors. These umbrella agencies assign their powers to the national and regional boards that are authorized to take on the post secondary accreditation process.

Even though there are many accrediting boards and agencies, they are all made up of individuals that share a common goal of promoting quality education throughout participating post secondary institutions. The numerous individuals that make up these boards and agencies have agreed to take on the enormous responsibility of monitoring and ensuring this goal. Their varied backgrounds in the government sector and the private sector along with average citizens ensure that all decisions are fair and balanced. Whether an expert in education, in another specialized field of study or in life, all members are well-respected.