Researching School Accreditation 

 

 

Trying to decide where to go to school?

If so, be certain to consider whether or not your school of choice is properly accredited. Accreditation helps to ensure that schools are of high quality and that their degrees will be accepted by other colleges and universities as well as by potential employers. (Check JJC's accreditation here.)

Attending an unaccredited program can mean that you may not be eligible for financial aid, you will not be able to transfer credits to another school, and you will not be able to obtain appropriate professional licensure in your field. Accreditation can make the difference between embarking on an exciting path, or being saddled with debt and worthless credits.

Furthermore, it is important to note that even if a school says that it is accredited, it is never safe to assume that is the case. Find out for sure by visiting the U.S. Department of Education's Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs website.

Once you have a list of potential schools, follow the steps below to ensure your chosen school is worthy of your time, effort and tuition dollars:

  1. Compile a list of schools you are interested in.
  2. Visit school websites to determine if they claim to be accredited by any particular agencies.
  3. Check the U.S. Department Educations Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs

 

 Accreditation FAQs:

What is accreditation?

Accreditation is a process whereby an independent agency evaluates an institution or academic program. Institutions or programs that meet the agency’s standards are “accredited.”

 There are two types of accreditation:

Institutional accreditation is carried out by regional and national accrediting agencies and applies to entire institutions.

Programmatic accreditation focuses on specific programs and is directed by professional accrediting bodies, which ensure that students receive an education that will grant them entry into their respective fields or disciplines.

The following six regional accreditation agencies are recognized as legitimate accreditors:

New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)

Accredits schools in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement(NCA)

Accredits schools in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Navajo Nation, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges (MSA)

Accredits schools in Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Central America, Europe, and the Middle East.

Southern Association of Schools and Colleges (SACS)

Accredits schools in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Latin America.

Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Accredits schools in California, Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, Palau, Micronesia, Northern Marianas, Marshall Islands, and other Australasian locations.

Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges (NWCCU)

Accredits schools in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

 

(Please note: JJC International students must have their Academic transcripts translated into English before they can be evaluated. JJC only uses WES (World Education Services) or (ECE) Educational Credentials Evaluation.)

Can a school lose accreditation?

Yes. Accreditation is an intensive process that involves faculty, staff, and even students at a given institution. It is important to note that accreditation is an ongoing process, which means that in order for an institution to remain accredited it must provide annual reports to the granting agency and participate in regular re-accreditation.

What are the benefits of accreditation?

Accreditation means that a given institution meets a set standard of educational quality. For students, this means that a degree from an accredited institution will be accepted by other schools and by potential employers.
Accreditation is also important for transferring credit from one school to another and can also be a factor for gaining access to federally-funded financial aid.
Accreditation is crucial for international students because proper accreditation allows schools the authority to issue the necessary documents for international students to enter the country on a student visa.

Who does the accreditation?

Accreditation is carried out by private, non-governmental organizations. Each agency sets its own standards and establishes its own policies and procedures for accreditation.
The most reliable and well-respected agencies are those authorized by the U.S. Department of Education, which ensures that agencies and their criteria are legitimate. However, some agencies do not operate under the U.S. Department of Education, and many schools claim accreditation through these agencies.
Be advised that schools accredited through unrecognized or fraudulent agencies cannot guarantee that their degrees will be universally accepted.
 

The following six regional accreditation agencies are recognized as legitimate accreditors:

New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)

Accredits schools in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement(NCA)

Accredits schools in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Navajo Nation, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges (MSA)

Accredits schools in Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Central America, Europe, and the Middle East.

Southern Association of Schools and Colleges (SACS)

Accredits schools in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Latin America.

Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Accredits schools in California, Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, Palau, Micronesia, Northern Marianas, Marshall Islands, and other Australasian locations.

Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges (NWCCU)

Accredits schools in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

(Please note: JJC International students must have their Academic transcripts translated into English before they can be evaluated. JJC only uses WES (World Education Services) or (ECE) Educational Credentials Evaluation.)

 

What is accreditation fraud?

Accreditation fraud is when faux or dubious agencies — often called accreditation mills — award accreditation to undeserving schools. These schools — known as degree mills or diploma mills — then grant degrees to undeserving students, usually in exchange for money and often without requiring students to show proof of substantive coursework or testing.
Degree mills and legitimate schools can sometimes be difficult to distinguish. Degree mills often use names that sound like real schools.

How can I find out if my school of choice is accredited?

You may easily determine if a school is accredited by an agency authorized by the U.S. Department of Education by checking the U.S. Department of Education Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs. Simply go to the website and enter the school’s name. The database will tell you if the school is accredited and by whom and when accreditation occured.

 

 

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Joliet Junior College
1215 Houbolt Road, Joliet, IL 60431-8938
Phone: (815) 729-9020