What criteria does the Department of Education use to certify accreditation agencies?

The main criteria used are:

  • Agency must have an established link to federal programs to ensure eligibility to participate
  • Agency must demonstrate what it covers geographically, such as a state, a region of the United States, or the totality of the United States
  • Standards for accreditation regarding faculty, curricula, facilities, student support, recruiting and admissions practices, measures of program length, objectives of degrees, credentials offers, record of compliance with the institution’s program responsibilities under federal financial aid guidelines
  • Agency must have experience in granting accreditation or pre-accreditation for at least two years prior to seeking recognition. Any institutions already accredited must be covered by the agency’s geographical scope as well as the range of specific degrees and programs that fit the agency’s standards for accreditation
  • Acceptance by other accrediting bodies, such as licensers, practitioners, and employers
  • Clear organizational structure including experienced professionals as well as academic and administrative personnel
  • A member of the agency who represents the public and its interests on all decision-making bodies
  • Administrative and fiscal capabilities and responsibilities
  • Complete and accurate records and documentation