Pros/Cons of National vs Regional Accreditation?

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by KYarb, Sep 20, 2008.

  1. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Absolutely true. In addition, many programmatic accreditations can apply to programs of non-US schools - e.g. ACBSP, AACSB. They're neither institutional accreditation, nor confined to the U.S.Fundamental difference: with this type, the program is accredited, not the school itself. The school, if US, would also have institutional accreditation (which most programmatic accreditors would require to be RA) -and qualifying programs, of course. If foreign, a programmatic accreditor would require that the school have programs up to their standards and sufficient degree-granting permission in its own country .

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 12, 2014
  2. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    What makes it more confusing is that some accreditors double as institutional and programmatic accreditors e.g. ABHES.
  3. Delta

    Delta Active Member

    This is the definition of accreditation by the APA:
    About Accreditation

    So.....if a program is accredited by an organization listed with the US Dept of Education, then it is a nationally accredited program, is it not?
  4. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    CHEA breaks it down like this.


    Some employers will use the term "nationally recognized accrediting organization." I've always taken this as meaning an accrediting organization that's recognized by USDOE or CHEA.
  5. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Not really. Obviously, it's "programmatically accredited." "National Accreditation" usually refers to Institutional Accreditation. This is APA's page explaining the difference. About Accreditation

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 12, 2014
  6. Delta

    Delta Active Member

    Correct! I never said institution I said program accreditation is another form of national accreditation perhaps I should have said national programmatic accreditation.
  7. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    These are definitions from USDOE.

    Glossary About Accreditation
  8. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    In the US, there's generally no controversy, because a school offering programmatically-accredited degrees (of recognized program accreditors) will pretty well always have Institutional accreditation from a "nationally recognized accrediting organization" or whatever equivalent wording an employer might use.

    And yes- I guess all programmatic accreditors could be considered "National" by default. -- There's no "national vs. regional" list of programmatic accreditors I'm aware of. I think the term "Regional" strictly applies to the Big 6 Institutional accreditors. Anything else is "National" in scope, I suppose, but the accreditors vary by type - institutional or programmatic.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 12, 2014
  9. Delta

    Delta Active Member

    I can understand the confusion and one needs to understand these subtle differences well before undertaking a course of study...especially, one that leads to licensure. I have attended RA schools where the program was not accredited. Although the degree is RA accredited the program would not be accepted as suitable for certification because it was not a nationally accredited program listed with USDOE. On the other side there are unaccredited schools and NA accredited schools that have programmatic accreditation that is nationally recognized and can lead to licensure.

    This is a great discussion and I hope it helps in understanding the US system. Clear as mud?
  10. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    The institution was RA, but the program did not have the programmatic or specialized accreditation the licensing body required. In these cases, NA institutional accreditation from bodies like DETC, ACICS, and ACCSC would not have sufficed.
  11. Delta

    Delta Active Member

    True! As you mentioned earlier ABHES institutional and programmatic accreditation may suffice!
  12. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Deleted - sorry.
  13. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    This discussion will remind me to be more careful with my words. I'm sure I have used the terms "RA degree" and "NA degree" before. This is erroneous since RA and NA institutional accreditors (that don't also double as programmatic accreditors) don't accredit degrees/programs. They give the accredited institution the authority to grant degrees under their institutional accreditation, and they approve new degree programs.
  14. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    It's not that complicated. The US Dept. of Education classifies accreditation agencies into three groups, as follows:



    1. Institutional accrediting agencies [they accredit entire institutions. There are two kinds.]

    - 1a. Regional institutional accrediting agencies [there are six of them]

    - 1b. National institutional accrediting agencies [DETC, ACICS, ACCSC, etc.]

    An accredited school will typically hold institutional accreditation from a regional or national institutional accrediting agency (but with the exception noted below).

    2. Specialized accrediting agencies [they accredit specific programs]

    Specialized accreditation typically supplements regional or national institutional accreditation (but with the exception noted below).


    Exception: USDoE allows some specialized accrediting agencies to provide institutional accreditation, in cases where a school is devoted entirely to a specialized program.

    Example: the ABA provides specialized accreditation for the JD degree. In the case of a standalone law school that only offers the JD degree, the USDoE accepts specialized accreditation from ABA as a form of institutional accreditation.


    Technically, you can use the term "nationally recognized" to apply to any form of USDoE-recognized accreditation, whether it is RA, NA, or programmatic. However, this creates an obvious potential for confusion between "nationally recognized accreditation" and "national institutional accreditation".
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 12, 2014
  15. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Which can lead to some rather bizarre stuff.

    Thomas Jefferson Law School is an ABA approved stand-alone institution. Recently, I ran across a long, slightly millish explanation about how wonderful the school's LL.M. and J.S.D. programs are because they come from an ABA approved law school. But this lengthy disquisition was necessary only because the ABA accredits ONLY J.D. programs and specifically states that its accreditation does NOT extend to other law degrees!

    Strictly speaking, TJSL's LL..M. degrees are NOT accredited. I do not suggest that they are fake or fraudulent. The school is certainly legitimate, if overly expensive, and the ABA did acquiesce in the graduate offerings. But acquiescence is not the same as accreditation. The irony of the situation is that my LL.M. in Taxation from Taft Law School IS accredited while the much more expensive LL.M. in Taxation from TJSL is NOT.

    Another ABA law school, Southwestern, obtained DETC accreditation for is distance LL.M. program because its ABA approval doesn't reach that far. In that case, my LL.M. has exactly the same accreditation as the much more expensive Southwestern offering.

    All very strange.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 22, 2014
  16. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Thomas Jefferson's accreditation statement is still on the school's web site. Connoisseurs of accreditation weaselry will want to experience it:

    Online Law School Admissions Online Law Degree Thomas Jefferson School of Law: Graduate International Tax Program Online Law School - Online Law Degree ABA Accredited LLM
  17. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    TJSL has bigger problems than that:

    According to the school's own numbers, more than one-third of their 2012 graduates were unemployed nine months after graduation.
  18. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member


    That's bad for a lot of financial reasons but one non-financial thing that WILL bite them...UGPA and LSAT scores correlate closely with Bar exam performance. If TJSL is admitting poorly qualified students, they will soon see their Bar pass rate fall and that can cost them their ABA approval.

    TJSL, like Western State and LaVerne, ran for years as a reasonably priced CBE accredited law school. In fact, I believe TJSL was a part of Western State's establishment at one time. These schools made an error, in my opinion, by sinking vast sums into obtaining ABA approval.

    Their students gained little by the accreditation change if they remained in California, as most do, but they are paying two or three times the tuition they would have paid had the schools remained CBE accredited.
  19. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Not to sidetrack the ABA discussion here, but I was helping my little brother pick out a grad school (He has an RA undergrad degree). However, while I was pawing around Binghamton University, I noticed this statement in huge admission requirements:

    To be eligible, you must have and provide:

    A bachelor's degree or its equivalent from a nationally or regionally accredited college or university

    It sort of caught my attention as I've never seen a traditional brick and mortar RA college put that on their website. I know it isn't terribly uncommon since I transferred DETC credits to my RA school for my associates (but I was sort of sweating while waiting to hear back from the registrar) but universities don't seem to enjoy publicly admitting that they may consider NA credits/degrees.

    I think a big issue is that a lot of people somehow associate NA with illegitimate. I've heard some people say that if you have an NA degree it "might as well have come from a diploma mill." There is definitely some negativity floating around. But I work in HR and I've not had an employer refuse to accept an NA degree. In fact, my first HR job, I pleaded with a hiring manager to scrap an applicant who was boasting three degrees from Almeda University (very much unaccredited) to no avail.

    So I know that there may be some government agency or some employer somewhere whose disdain for an NA degree knows no bounds, but I haven't seen it yet. What I see tons of is anti-DL bias. There are people who think that an "online degree" is worthless, no matter what accreditation the school has.

    One of my colleagues got a real kick out of an applicant who had an MBA from American intercontinental university. She mocked the school for nearly a half hour. Funny thing is that her manager has a B.S. from Columbia Southern (DETC).

    There are some people who think that you are lying to the world if you use an NA degree. There are some people who think you cheated your way to a useless degree if it was earned online, regardless of the accreditation (take THAT Penn State, Drexel, Stanford, Columbia and Villanova). I think that every degree has a limit as to where it will take you. I will never get hired by Goldman Sachs with my credentials. If my goal were to work for Goldman Sachs! I went about achieving that goal all the wrong way. If my goal is to become a career academic, earning a doctorate from an NA school is probably not going to do it for me. But the line between RA and NA schools isn't as clear as some people seem to think. There are respectable schools who accept NA credits. There are respectable schools who will admit you to grad programs if you have an NA degree. Maybe not all. Likely not even most. But for a lot of people, just having an accredited degree, from any agency, is a lifetime achievement. License qualification is another matter entirely.
  20. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Not necessarily. ABA considers a bar pass rate to be acceptable if it is within 15 percentage points of the statewide average (for graduates of ABA schools). If every law school in the state is struggling to find well qualified students, and is letting its standards slip, then the statewide average should drop. So a falling bar pass rate at a given school is not necessarily a problem, as long as the statewide average is falling too.

    On the other hand, the current pass rates at TJSL are pretty bad. For California, only 64 of 175 first-time takers passed, for a pass rate of 36.57 %, which was 35.58 points below the statewide average. TJSL students did better in other states, but ABA calculates their overall "average pass difference" at -26.86 points, which is way below the 15 point threshold.

    Will ABA enforce their own rules ? If they do, there will be numerous law schools -- not just TJSL -- that would lose ABA approval. Not sure they have the guts to do it.

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