Colleges and universities are accredited by six major regional organizations in the United States. In many countries, the federal government regulates universities. However, in the United States, independent organizations called accrediting bodies or associations are responsible for upholding standards and ensuring that universities carry out their missions. A university or college that meets the standards of the accrediting body is said to be “accredited” or to hold “accreditation.” Each organization lists accredited institutions on its website.
The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Higher Education (MSA/CHE) accredits degree-granting schools in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and some international locations that grant degrees to American students. The commission grants accreditation to institutions as a whole rather than individual programs.
The New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE) accredits colleges and universities in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and several international institutions. The organization is made up of faculty and administrators from member universities and public members.
The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools Higher Learning Commission accredits degree-granting schools in Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming. The organization works with institutions on an annual basis.
The Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Colleges and Universities accredits colleges and universities in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington. The organization determines criteria and procedures for evaluation.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accredits degree-granting schools in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Latin America and several other international institutions. The organization works with institutions that grant associate, baccalaureate, master’s, and/or doctoral degrees.
The Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College Commission accredits colleges and universities in California, Hawaii, the territories of Guam, American Samoa, Federate States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau, Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands, the Pacific Basin and other international institutions. Three commissions work with three different segments of education: K-12, community and junior colleges and senior colleges and universities.
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