Thinking of going back to school to make your educational and career goals possible? In your research about potential universities and degree programs, you’re going to come across the word “accreditation.” If you are in search of a quality program, be sure to pay attention to accreditations and the organizations that give them. Here are the four things you need to know about accreditation.
What is accreditation?
Accreditation is a voluntary activity undertaken by a university to earn official recognition that the school meets or exceeds a defined set of standards for higher learning. Following a rigorous evaluation of its mission and goals, financial health, student learning experience, relevance of the curriculum, and the quality of the faculty and leadership, a university may be awarded institutional or programmatic accreditation (explained below). This distinction is only given if the university has met the rigorous criteria defined by the accrediting organization.
The process for both types of accreditation, institutional and programmatic, is often similar no matter which accrediting organization one is looking at. The university usually has to respond to highly detailed questions about its instruction, academic programs, student learning, and financial health, among other things. The university also must provide evidence of regular self-evaluation that leads to continuous improvements. Once this information has been collected, reviewers from the accrediting bodies conduct site visits to confirm that the university is meeting the accrediting body’s standards. Accreditation is not a one-time process. Both institutional and programmatic accreditation is monitored regularly by the accrediting agencies, and the universities must again undertake the full accreditation review for institutional and programmatic re-accreditation at regular intervals usually ranging from five to ten years.
Why is accreditation important?
Accreditation tells you that agencies knowledgeable about academic excellence and standards of quality have confidence in a college or university to develop and deliver degree programs of a certain quality.
Accreditation is important for financing your education. To be eligible for federal grants and loans, you must attend a university that’s been institutionally accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, such as the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which institutionally accredits Strayer University. Attending an accredited university does not guarantee that you will receive federal grants or loans, but you won’t be eligible to apply if your school is not institutionally accredited.
Accreditation can also be important for potential employers. An employer knows that a student who graduates from an accredited institution has completed a program of study with a certain level of rigor.
What is the difference between institutional and programmatic accreditation?
There are two kinds of accreditation—institutional and programmatic. Institutional accreditation certifies that the entire university meets or exceeds the standards of excellence in higher education as determined by that accrediting agency. Institutional accreditation by a recognized accrediting agency is required for a university’s eligibility to award federal financial aid to qualified students. Institutional accreditation, for the purposes of federal financial aid can be awarded by regional or national accrediting agencies that are recognized by the United States Department of Education.
Programmatic accreditation accredits specific degree programs. Agencies with subject-matter expertise provide an in-depth evaluation of the courses, faculty, and industry-relevant knowledge and skills needed to succeed in a particular field. There are programmatic accrediting agencies for a number of degree programs in various fields of study.
Which accreditations does Strayer have?
If you want your degree to help you open doors to new career possibilities, you’ll want to find an accredited University. Programmatic accreditations can also help. Strayer has been awarded both institutional and programmatic accreditations, as listed below.
Strayer University is an accredited institution and a member of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), www.msche.org. Strayer University’s accreditation status is Accreditation Reaffirmed. MSCHE most recently reaffirmed Strayer University’s accreditation status in June 2017, with the next self-study evaluation scheduled for the 2025–2026 academic year. MSCHE is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
The following agencies accredit Strayer programs:
The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). The ACBSP programmatically accredits Strayer’s business degree programs, including the Jack Welch Management Institute MBA.
The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Strayer’s Master of Education degree program is accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) through June 24, 2020. Upon expiration of TEAC accreditation, the MEd program will no longer have programmatic accreditation; however, this does not affect the University’s institutional accreditation. Strayer continues to hold institutional accreditation by its regional accrediting agency, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Students who graduate from the MEd program will graduate from a regionally accredited institution. TEAC, now part of the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation, is located at 2010 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20036, 202-223-0077. Strayer University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. 267-284-5000), which is one of the six regional accrediting bodies in the United States. The Commission is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. http://www.msche.org.
The National Security Agency’s (NSA) Committee on National Security Systems (CNSS). While not an accreditation, the CNSS has certified that Strayer’s security curriculum has been reviewed by the Information Assurance Courseware Evaluation Review Committee (IACE) and determined that it meets national training standards for information systems security professionals and system administrators.
Learn more about Strayer University's accredited programs.