What is university accreditation?

Article reading time: 5 min. | 29. Jan 2024, written by Margherita Seppi
Tags UniversityAccreditation AccreditedDegrees QualityEducation UniversityCredibility StudyChoice AccreditationProcess

Accreditation is a crucial aspect of higher education that students and parents should be familiar with. Higher education accreditation ensures that institutions meet specific quality standards, ensuring the credibility of the education provided.

In this article, we will delve deeper into the various aspects of university accreditation and why enrolling in an accredited university is important.

University accreditation 101

University accreditation is a process by which independent agencies evaluate and verify the quality and standards of higher education institutions.

These agencies review various factors such as curriculum, faculty qualifications, student services, infrastructure and more, to determine whether an institution meets the set criteria.

During the accreditation process, experts in the field of education conduct on-site visits to the institution. They assess the quality of teaching, the relevance of the curriculum, and the effectiveness of student support services.

These experts also review the qualifications and expertise of the faculty members to ensure that they are well-equipped to deliver high-quality education.

University checkmark accreditation on a screen

Benefits of higher education accreditation

One of the key benefits of university accreditation is that it provides assurance to students and employers about the quality of education offered by an institution.

Accreditation serves as a mark of credibility and helps students make informed decisions about their educational choices. It also enhances the value of a degree, as employers often prefer candidates who have graduated from accredited institutions.

Furthermore, accreditation promotes continuous improvement in educational practices. Institutions that undergo the accreditation process are encouraged to assess their programmes, identify areas for improvement, and implement necessary changes.

Types of university accreditation

When it comes to university accreditation, there are several types that institutions can obtain. While regional accreditation and national accreditation are the most common, there are other forms that cater to specific disciplines or sectors.

Teacher and its students in a class

Regional accreditation

Regional accreditation is widely recognised and highly regarded in the United States. It involves evaluating institutions in specific regions and is conducted by independent accrediting bodies. These accrediting bodies assess various aspects of an institution, including its educational programmes, faculty qualifications, and student support services.

Regional accreditation is typically sought by traditional universities and colleges. It ensures that the institution meets certain standards of quality and provides students with a well-rounded education. This type of accreditation is essential for students who plan to transfer credits between institutions or pursue advanced degrees.

Furthermore, regional accreditation often opens doors to federal financial aid programmes, making education more accessible to students. Employers also tend to value degrees from regionally accredited institutions, as they view them as a mark of quality and credibility.

Globe map on top of a book

National accreditation

While regional accreditation is more common in the United States, national accreditation is more more common in Europe. It is often focused on specific disciplines or sectors, such as vocational, technical, or specialised schools. These institutions, like IU International University of Applied Sciences, typically offer programmes that are more career-oriented and practical in nature.

National accreditation bodies, are usually set up by a federal governement. They evaluate institutions based on industry-specific standards and criteria. They ensure that the programmes offered by these institutions align with the needs and expectations of employers in the respective fields. This type of accreditation can be particularly valuable for students seeking specialised training or looking to enter specific industries.

University professor in a classroom with his students

Specialised accreditation

In addition to regional and national accreditation, there are also specialised accreditations that focus on specific programmes or fields of study. These accreditations ensure that the programmes meet industry-specific standards and provide students with the necessary knowledge and skills.

For example, in the field of healthcare, there are accrediting bodies that evaluate nursing programmes, medical schools, and allied health programmes. These specialised accreditations help maintain the quality and integrity of healthcare education and ensure that graduates are well-prepared for their careers.

In conclusion, university accreditation comes in various forms, each serving a specific purpose.

Regional accreditation is widely recognised and respected, ensuring that institutions meet high standards of quality and providing students with a well-rounded education.

National accreditation is also widely recognised and respected, and caters to specialised disciplines or sectors.

Specialised accreditation focuses on specific programmes or fields of study, ensuring that graduates are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills.

Accreditation agencies

Accreditation agencies evaluate the institution's infrastructure and resources. They examine the facilities available to students, such as libraries, laboratories, and computer labs, to ensure that they are up-to-date and conducive to learning. Additionally, they assess the institution's financial stability and its ability to provide a safe and secure environment for students.

Why enroll in an accredited university

Hand holding an University diploma

Enrolling in an accredited university offers numerous benefits. It assures you that the education you receive meets certain standards of quality. Accredited institutions are more likely to have experienced faculty, relevant and up-to-date curriculum, and adequate resources.

In addition, accreditation is often a requirement for various financial aid programmes and scholarships. If you plan on seeking financial assistance for your education, enrolling in an accredited institution is essential.

Teaching staff

When you enroll in an accredited university, you can be confident that the faculty members who will be guiding you through your educational journey are experts in their fields. Their expertise and experience will not only enhance your learning experience but also provide you with valuable insights and practical knowledge that you can apply in your future career.

Quality assurance

In addition to the faculty, accredited universities are committed to offering a relevant and up-to-date curriculum. They continuously review and update their course offerings to align with the latest industry trends and advancements.

This ensures that you are equipped with the most current knowledge and skills that are in demand in the job market. By enrolling in an accredited university, you can be confident that your education is preparing you for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Financial aid

When you choose to pursue your education at an accredited university, you open yourself up to a wide range of financial aid opportunities. These institutions have established relationships with various funding organiwations, both public and private, that offer scholarships, grants, and loans to eligible students.

Furthermore, accredited universities often have their own scholarship programm4s that are exclusively available to their students. These scholarships are designed to recognise and reward academic excellence, leadership potential, and other exceptional qualities.

Credit transfer

Finally, when it comes to transferring credits or pursuing advanced degrees, accreditation plays a vital role. Many institutions only accept credits from accredited institutions, and some employers may require degrees from accredited universities.

If you have plans to transfer to another institution in the future, whether it be to pursue a higher degree or explore different academic opportunities, enrolling in an accredited university ensures that your credits will be recognised and accepted by other accredited institutions.

A note about accredited online degree programmes

University student on her graduation day

Online education has become increasingly popular, and some online degree programmes are also accredited. Accreditation for online programmes follows a similar process as traditional institutions, with additional evaluations focusing on online learning methodologies and resources.

Understanding the benefits of accreditation

Accreditation not only benefits students but also institutions themselves. For students, accreditation ensures that they are receiving a quality education and that their degree holds value in the job market.

Accreditation also encourages institutions to continuously improve their programmes and services. The evaluation process identifies areas of strength and areas that need improvement, enabling institutions to enhance their offerings and provide a better educational experience.

What is the process of accreditation?

The accreditation process typically involves a self-assessment conducted by the institution, followed by an external evaluation by a team of experts. The experts thoroughly review the institution's policies, practices, facilities, and curriculum.

The team then submits a report with their findings and recommendations to the accrediting agency. Finally, the accrediting agency makes a decision regarding the accreditation status of the institution.

Is accreditation necessary for higher education?

While universities have the option to be accredited, it is not mandatory. However, there are multiple reasons why accreditation is highly recommended. Accreditation provides reassurance to students and their families that the institution meets certain quality standards.

Moreover, many employers and graduate schools prefer candidates with degrees from accredited institutions. Accreditation is often seen as an indicator of a well-rounded education and can enhance one's employment prospects and opportunities for further education.

Accreditation requirements and standards

Accreditation agencies have specific requirements and standards that institutions must meet. These requirements may include minimum qualifications for faculty, sufficient student support services, appropriate learning resources, and guidelines for curriculum development.

In addition, institutions are often required to provide evidence of continuous improvement and comply with ethical and professional standards.

Accreditation and its impact on job prospects

Accreditation can significantly impact job prospects for graduates. Having a degree from an accredited institution demonstrates to employers that you have received a quality education and have attained the necessary skills and knowledge for the job.

Some employers specifically state that they only consider candidates from accredited institutions, as they believe it reflects a higher level of competence and credibility.

IU Interantional Universtiy of Applied Sciences - state accredited and internationally recognised

To ensure that our students can use their degrees and education anywhere in the world, we follow strict accreditation protocols. All IU degrees are state accredited by the state of Thuringia, Germany, and the University is a member of many international academic alliances, such as the African Association of Universities and the Association of Indian Universities.

Thanks to this, graduates of IU can expect their degrees to be recognised in most countries on the globe, helping them to find a job more easily or continue their education in other universities. In fact, IU has a long list of academic partnerships around the world, which includes universities such as Cambridge, Oxford and UCLA, among others.


Woman checking the university accreditation documentation

University accreditation is a vital aspect of higher education. It ensures that institutions meet certain quality standards and provides students with a credible education.

Accreditation not only benefits students but also helps institutions improve their offerings and stay abreast of industry trends. By understanding the process and importance of accreditation, students can make informed choices about their education, leading to a fulfilling and rewarding academic journey.

Whether you are pursuing a traditional or online degree, it is essential to enroll in an accredited institution to ensure that your education holds value and provides you with opportunities for future success.

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