Accreditation is essential to guarantee the quality and integrity of academic programs, as well of the degrees conferred by a college or university. It also allows students to receive federal financial aid and serves as a measure of assurance to employers and the public that accredited institutions are fulfilling their stated purposes and meeting expectations.
In the United States, there are eight major regional accrediting commissions belonging to six regional associations:
- The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools*
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Technical and Career Institutions
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- Southern Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Colleges
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
*Antioch University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission
In addition, there are a number of specialized and national accreditations that focus on specific types of programs such as the arts, business, engineering, law, and theology.