1. AdamTheAlaskan

    AdamTheAlaskan New Member

    So, I've been looking at some universities and their accrediting bodies. I've noticed that some universities are accredited by a body that is recognized by CHEA, some are recognized by the USDE and some are recognized by both. What is the story with this? I've always been told that the USDE doesn't deal with accreditation recognition, but that is the role of CHEA. Thanks!
  2. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Someone told you wrong.

    The US Department of Education is tasked with maintaining a list of accrediting agencies that accredit schools for the purpose of participating in Federal financial aid programs.

    CHEA is a private professional body made up of accrediting agencies.

    In most cases, they overlap, but there are differences. These differences affect almost no one, however.
  3. AdamTheAlaskan

    AdamTheAlaskan New Member

    Interesting. Now you said that the differences between the two affect almost no one, so if I were to attend a school that had one vs. the other, it wouldn't affect me as far as my education being recognized and usable, correct?
  4. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Nobody can say that definitively.

    Schools that are recognized by CHEA but not by USDOE do not provide access to Title IV (federal financial aid). For many accrediting bodies it doesn't matter. Programmatic accreditors, for example, aren't in the business of getting you access to financial aid. And, since all of the schools whose programs they accredit are required to have institutional accredition it isn't really their problem.

    All of the regional accreditors are recognized by USDOE and CHEA, as are the two most common NA agencies (DEAC and ACICS) and the Faith Based accreditors. There are, however, a number of institutional accreditors recognized by USDOE and not by CHEA.

    The utility of any credential and the acceptability of any school is a hotly contested issue. DEAC is recognized by both CHEA and USDOE and yet, a degree from there would not qualify you for a civil service job in New York (unless the school had registered its programs in the state). The NYS Board of Regents is a USDOE, but not a CHEA, recognized accreditor. They accredit two doctoral programs in New York state, one of which is a feeder into the faculty of Weill Cornell Medical College (part of Cornell University). In fact, Cornell University used to be accredited by NYSBOR.

    If your degree is from a school that isn't RA then we know that WES won't consider it equivalent to Canadian degrees. So if you intend to take that degree North of the border you might run into issues.

    There are a number of issues at play when it comes to utility:

    1. Will a school accept credits from your program in transfer?
    2. Will another school accept an undergrad degree from your school for admission to a graduate program?
    3. Will an employer hire a person with that degree?
    4. Will an employer allow you to use company provided tuition assistance for the degree?

    And I'm not so sure that any of the above will, at any point, factor USDOE versus CHEA as part of that equation. My company requires that applicant degrees, and any degree program for tuition aid, be from schools accredited by a USDOE recognized accreditor. I was part of the team that put that policy together. While there are institutional accreditors who are USDOE and not CHEA I am aware of no institutional accreditor that is CHEA and not USDOE.

    Would I hold back from a program that was accredited by a USDOE recognized accreditor (but which was not recognized by CHEA)? Not at all. It's certainly legitimate. And programmatic accreditors are much more commonly ONLY CHEA, so obviously no issue there. But USDOE recognition isn't the same thing as universal acceptance. And you should understand all of the myriad ways in which accreditation may come into play so that you understand all of the nuance and go into your program with a full understanding of what lies ahead.
  5. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    Can you give an example? I'm not aware of any institutional accreditors, the ones that accredit entire schools, that are recognized by one and not the other. (With the exception of the NY Regents, perhaps.) They aren't the accreditors that people typically encounter.

    You are more likely to encounter examples of accreditors recognized by one and not the other among the specialized accreditors that accredit individual programs in particular subjects. I've heard somewhere that ABET, the engineering accreditor might be an example, and perhaps AACSB, the business administration accreditor as well. (I'm not entirely sure about those examples.)

    What you need to look at in those kind of cases is recognition among employers and licensing bodies. It doesn't matter a whole lot whether CHEA or the Secretary of Education recognize a particular specialized accreditor, if your state licensing board requires the accreditation in order to qualify for a license or employers specify it in job announcements. These specialized accreditors are often associated with professional organizations (the American Medical Association, the American Bar Association etc.) and recognition by those associations has more clout in their professions than the Dept of Education or CHEA.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2016
  6. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    CHEA has a handy chart. But there are a few USDOE recognized institutional accreditors which are not recognized by CHEA.

    The most prominent of these would be Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) which accredits Full Sail University. There are others, but some of the smaller career focused accreditors don't accredit degree programs.

    Both examples you provided are CHEA but not USDOE.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2016
  7. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    Some years back, I recall reading online where an organization hiring new employees was dead set on the institution being listed with CHEA. The schools some of the people graduated from were listed with the USDOE, but not CHEA, and they complained about being disqualified for a job because of their school not being listed in CHEA.

    Clearly, whomever came up with the criteria for hiring with that company was clueless.
  8. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Happens all the time.

    I was speaking to a colleague of mine, who works for Cornell University's HR department, and he shared with me his own headache of a policy here.

    A summary, and the offending language, is here:

  9. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    That's scary when an Ivy League institution doesn't get it. Cornell needs to fix that, but my guess is that it's tough to find anyone in a position to allow the change to care enough about it.
  10. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    It would be better to examine a specific situation rather than speak in hypotheticals. What I meant is that almost no one would be caught between a school accredited by an agency accredited by one but not the other. And even if this did occur, it likely would be meaningless to the student/graduate. As Neuhaus says, and I mentioned in my post, Federal financial aid is the big difference.
  11. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Oh, I'm sure the Ivy League institution gets it. I'd bet that the policy was written by an HR person who, if they weren't working at said Ivy League school, could just as easily be working in HR at Google, McDonalds, Wal-Mart or anywhere else that has an HR department.

    I'm sure that there is a fair amount of bureaucracy that gets handled without the intervention or advice of the best and brightest at an institution like this.

    But yeah, it's a dumb requirement and I have no idea how they could possibly implement the policy as it is written. So I would suspect that they don't and that they have some way of trying to operate in the "spirit" of the requirement.

    Maybe they accept any RA program. Maybe any program accredited by a USDOE recognized accreditor. Maybe they only allow you to take a course with the a school that appears on the list of member institutions at ACE. Maybe they just eyeball the program, say "sounds legit" and cut a check.
  12. ericselwyn

    ericselwyn New Member

    Just to note....The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) has not been recognized by CHEA since the middle of 2012
  13. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    As was pointed out to me via PM, NWCC is the only regional accreditor recognized by USDOE and not CHEA. They wee formerly recognized but haven't been since 2012.
  14. DxD=D^2

    DxD=D^2 Member

  15. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Interesting. But I'm pretty sure that makes CHEA less useful, rather than Middle States.
  16. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    From the Middle States website, November 2023:

    The Commission will no longer pursue recognition with the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which reflects a voluntary process that is not required for institutional accrediting agencies in the United States. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education continues to be recognized by the United States Secretary of Education, which is required.

    No rationale given. Other sources indicate that it was the MSCHE's decision, not CHEA's. It appears the Middle States broke with CHEA over CHEA's management of complaints. The federal government wanted accreditors to streamline their processes in handling student grievances. CHEA is dragging their feet, so the Middle States decided to break from them and streamline their processes on their own. (I have to think there's more to this.)
  17. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Yeaaah...regional accreditation is still the gold standard whether we want to admit this or not.
    RoscoeB likes this.
  18. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Is it? As has been pointed out a number of times around here, the only data we have on RA acceptance of NA credit and qualifications is Rich's study which was too long ago to say anything definitively. If we were to rerun it, my guess is that for most people it wouldn't really matter.
    RoscoeB likes this.
  19. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Nope. R/A is what Hahvahd recognizes. QED.
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  20. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Well, I stand corrected. ;)

Share This Page