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At its core, accreditation is quality control – it is a signal that an institution has been vetted by an outside organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as an authority on postsecondary quality. 

Accreditors conduct regular and rigorous reviews of institutions and academic programs to help ensure students are being well-served and that the credits or degrees earned from that school are valuable. C-RAC members employ a rigorous peer-review process that helps ensure fiscal and educational integrity. We rely on experts in higher education, business, and management to analyze institutional performance using sophisticated tools and reliable data.


In addition to institutional quality, there are four major factors affected by accreditation that students should understand:


  • FINANCIAL AID: Accreditation ultimately affects whether students can receive federal financial aid to help pay for tuition or other college costs. Only institutions that are accredited by a recognized agency are eligible to receive financial aid that can be distributed to students. State governments also monitor whether institutions are accredited when determining how to distribute state aid.

    The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) advises the U.S. Department of Education on approved accrediting agencies that can monitor quality and encourage accountability at colleges and universities. All members of C-RAC are approved and recognized by NACIQI. A comprehensive list of recognized accreditors is available here.


  • TRANSFER OF CREDITS: Credits earned from a non-accredited college or university may not transfer to other postsecondary institutions. Students of accredited institutions have a greater chance of having their credits transfer to other accredited institutions. It is up to individual institutions to make decisions about whether they will accept transfer credits. 


  • PROFESSIONAL LICENSURE: States may not recognize credits from a non-accredited institution and may not allow graduates of non-accredited institutions to sit for professional licensure exams. States have sole authority over professional licensure decisions.

  • FUTURE EMPLOYMENT: Employers want to know whether prospective employees have earned a degree from a reputable institution. Employers will question the validity of degrees or credentials earned from non-accredited institutions.

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