College Accreditation

What is accreditation?

Accreditation is certification that the educational program (s) at a school meet a certain level of quality. Independent organizations called accrediting agencies evaluate schools and award accreditation. The U.S. Dept. of Education doesn’t accredit schools.

What if the school I choose isn't accredited?

    * You might not be able to get any financial aid to help you attend the school. The U.S. Department of Education requires that schools that participate in our federal student aid programs be accredited. You also could find that your state education agency's aid programs won't pay for your attendance at unaccredited schools.
    * You might not be able to transfer to another school. For instance, if you attend an unaccredited two-year school and then transfer to a four-year school to finish your education, you might have to start over again at the four-year school if it doesn't recognize the classes you took at the two-year school.
    * You might not be able to get a good job. Unaccredited schools generally don't have as good a reputation as accredited schools do. Many employers won't hire someone with a certificate from a school they've never heard of or know is unaccredited.

What's a diploma mill?

A diploma mill is an unaccredited school (or a business claiming to be a school) that awards a degree without requiring classwork meeting college-level standards. Some will send a “diploma” without the student doing any work at all--the student simply pays a fee. Others assign classwork that is so easy, the student's resulting degree is worthless compared to a degree from an accredited school. Visit Career Colleges and Technical Schools - Special Considerations to learn more about diploma mills and how to avoid them.

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