What is accreditation and why is it important?
Are there different kinds of accreditation?
What is the difference between accreditation and state licensure?
Can a U.S. institution be governmentally accredited?
Does NEASC accreditation include online programs and branch campuses?
Who is on the Committee on Technical and Career Institutions?
How are decisions made about an institution’s accreditation status?
Who are the peer evaluators who visit schools under review?
How does an institution become accredited by NEASC? How long will it take?
QUESTIONS ABOUT INSTITUTIONS AND PROGRAMS
Does NEASC recommend or rank schools?
How can I find out if an institution is accredited by NEASC?
Does NEASC accredit the professional program at my institution?
I’m applying for a job and have to prove that I graduated from an accredited institution. Can you help me?
How can I get a copy of an institution’s evaluation report or self-study?
Does accreditation guarantee that my credits can be transferred?
What happens to my records if my school closes?
How can I let the Committee know about a concern I have about an institution?
Q: What is accreditation and why is it important?
Accreditation is a status that provides assurance to prospective students, their families and the general public that an institution meets clearly stated Standards of Membership and that there are reasonable grounds to believe the institution will continue to meet those standards in the future. Click Purpose of Accreditation for more information.
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Q: Are there different kinds of accreditation?
In the U.S., schools and colleges voluntarily seek accreditation from nongovernmental bodies. There are two types of educational accreditation: institutional and specialized (or programmatic).
Institutional accreditation is provided by regional and national associations. There are six regional associations. The regional associations are independent of one another, but they cooperate extensively and acknowledge one another’s accreditation. Several national associations focus on particular kinds of institutions (for example, technical or religious colleges). An institutional accrediting agency evaluates the institution as a whole, applying the standards in light of the institution’s mission. Besides assessing educational programs, it evaluates areas such as governance and administration, financial stability, physical resources, library and technology, admissions, and student services. Institutional accreditation encompasses the entire institution.
Specialized or programmatic accreditation evaluates particular schools or programs within an institution. Specialized accreditation is often associated with national professional associations such as those for engineering, medicine, and law, or with specific disciplines such as business, teacher education, and nursing.
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Q: What is the difference between accreditation and state licensure?
In order to protect students and the public, many states have established regulations that must be met before an educational institution may operate. To operate legally, an institution needs state approval, which may include licensure. In fact, an institution must have the appropriate state authorization to operate before it can seek accreditation. But in most states, institutions do not have to be accredited to operate. (Some states require institutions to be accredited by a DOE-recognized accreditor.)
Accreditation is voluntary. It represents an institution’s willingness to abide by the Standards and to open itself regularly to examination by outside evaluators familiar with education. As such accreditation is recognized as a symbol of accountability to the public.
Q: Can a U.S. institution be governmentally accredited?
No. In the U.S., accreditation is handled through non-governmental agencies, many of which are recognized by the federal government as reliable authorities on the quality of education. Only institutions accredited by those agencies are authorized to participate in federal Title IV funding (student financial aid). A list of the Department of Education’s nationally-recognized accrediting agencies can be found at the website below:
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Q: Does NEASC accreditation include online programs and branch campuses?
Yes. NEASC is an institutional accreditor, so it accredits the institution as a whole, including all programs at all locations, as well as those offered online.
Q: Who is on the Committee on Technical and Career Institutions?
The Committee consists of faculty and senior administrators from member institutions, as well as representatives of the public who have worked outside education. Commissioners are elected by the membership and may serve two three-year terms. Public members may serve two two-year terms. Commissioners’ perspectives are informed by their own experience and knowledge of education. They are bound by explicit ethical standards to prevent conflict of interest. A list of Commissioners who currently serve on the Committee on Technical and Career Institutions is available.
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Q: How are decisions made about an institution’s accreditation status?
Accreditation is not for a specific period of time but is a continuing relationship that is subject to periodic review. Institutions provide information to the Commission annually and at other intervals depending on the circumstances. Comprehensive evaluations, including site visits by a team of peer evaluators, take place at least every ten years. The Commission holds two meetings per year to review institutional reports and reports of peer evaluation teams. The Standards guide all decisions. For more information, see Process of Accreditation.
Q: Who are the peer evaluators who visit schools under review?
CTCI maintains a database of more than 2,000 experienced educators from technical schools who have volunteered for this important task. They are carefully selected and trained to evaluate institutions according to the Standards.
Q: How does an institution become accredited by NEASC? How long will it take?
An institution must first be licensed to operate in one of the six New England states and demonstrate that it meets the Commission's Eligibility Requirements.
The process begins with an in-person interview with Commission staff. The length of time to candidacy depends on a number of factors, including how long the institution has been in operation and the results of its on-site evaluations. Once candidacy is achieved, an institution must progress to accreditation within five years.
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Q: Does NEASC recommend or rank schools?
No. Schools differ so much from one another (with regard to mission, types of programs, students served) that they cannot be easily ranked. Each student must determine whether a school meets his or her needs.
Q: How can I find out if an institution is accredited by NEASC?
See our roster of institutions.
Q: Does NEASC accredit the professional program at my institution?
NEASC accredits institutions, not programs. Therefore, if the institution is accredited by NEASC, then that status encompasses the entire institution. For information about whether the program has specialized (or programmatic) accreditation, consult the institution or the accreditor in that field.
Q: I’m applying for a job and have to prove that I graduated from an accredited institution. Can you help me?
Contact the registrar of your institution, who can validate its accreditation status and provide proof that you received your certificate/diploma or degree.
Q: How can I get a copy of an institution’s evaluation report or self-study?
The Commission does not release institutional reports or correspondence. Some institutions post their reports and self-studies on their websites. If you have an interest in a particular institution's evaluation report or self-study, contact the chief executive officer of the institution.
Q. Does accreditation guarantee that my credits can be transferred?
No. Every institution retains the right to determine what credits and degrees it will accept. Transferability of credits depends on a number of factors, including accreditation, curriculum compatibility, and grades. Institutions are required under CTCI's Standards to have clear transfer policies and to make those policies available to you. Consult the Policy on Transfer and Award of Academic Credit. If you have questions about whether your credits or degrees will be accepted, check with the Registrar or Admissions office of the school to which you intend to apply.
Q: What happens to my records if my school closes?
The closing institution arranges with the state department of education or other appropriate agency to file all academic records as well as financial aid information. You should receive a notice from the school about arrangements made for filing student records. Begin further inquiries by contacting the education agency in the state where the institution was authorized to operate. If the college merges with another institution, that institution will receive the records. If you need further assistance, contact a member of the Commission staff.
Q: How can I let the Commission know about a concern I have about an institution?
There are several ways. During an institution’s comprehensive review, the Commission seeks written third-party comments. See the Commission's Policy on Third-Party Comments During Comprehensive Evaluations. Visiting evaluation teams will also be available on campus to meet with students, faculty, or staff who have a concern about an institution. Consult the schedule of upcoming evaluations to see institutions undergoing comprehensive review.
At any time, you may contact the Commission in writing with a complaint that raises significant questions about institutional conditions that violate the Standards. The Commission does not adjudicate individual grievances. Persons wishing to lodge a complaint against a member institution should first consult the Commission’s Complaints Against Affiliated Institutions for information about the procedure. Complaints should reference the Standards and be supported by evidence. For further guidance on filing a complaint, you may contact Bruce Sievers, Associate Director by e-mail or phone, 781-425-7716.