dcsimg

Accredited vs. Unaccredited Schools

If you are thinking about getting your degree online, you have a daunting task in front of you. What's legit, what's a scam? You can find disgruntled former students complaining on discussion boards about every school, for every conceivable infraction. It's not easy, but there are ways to narrow your search. One important first step is to check the credentials of online degree programs.

Accredited Online Schools

Accreditation is a system of review of the educational practices and program quality of educational institutions and programs by a third party -- or, more succinctly, quality control. Many industries and employers only recognize accredited online degrees. Accrediting agencies also determine compliance with federal regulations regarding student access and safety. In most cases, online students are only eligible for federal and state financial aid if they are attending an accredited online school.

Many different types of accreditation agencies are recognized by the United States Department of Education --national, regional, programmatic, hybrid. A complete list of accredited online schools and accrediting agencies is available at the Department of Education's website.

Unaccredited Online Degrees

Not all online degree programs are accredited. There are a number of reasons a school might not maintain accreditation. Every school starts out unaccredited; even well-known accredited online schools started out having to prove themselves. A school might lose accreditation due to financial or quality issues. Some schools choose not to participate in the accreditation system for reasons of academic, religious, or political freedoms, or do not comply with federal regulations somehow. Although rare, other unaccredited online programs may be diploma mills, offering degrees of no educational value to the unsuspecting student.

While there may be worthwhile unaccredited programs, accreditation is the mark of credibility recognized by potential employers and peers alike. Accredited online schools come with a pedigree that can give you some confidence in the standards and quality of your future education.

--

Rory Dowd is a house-dad, stand-up poet, and freelance writer. His experience also includes mentorship, development, and advocacy with diverse target populations including at-risk-teens and young adults, the developmentally and physically disabled, and the homeless. Rory is currently a graduate student in Kaplan University's Online Master of Science in Higher Education program with a concentration in Student Affairs.


Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
  • Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degrees available in a wide range of fields.
  • Flexible online programs offered in Psychology, Criminal Justice, Education, and more.
  • Assigned Financial Services Advisors to help answer student financial questions.
  • Servicemembers and their spouses can apply for the Ashford Military Grant to reduce tuition for all undergraduate courses.
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
  • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year
  • Links students to hundreds of training opportunities (beyond their traditional internships and practicum) at their many “partner agencies” in each of their local communities.
  • Accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WUSCUC).
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • For nearly a century, CIU has provided an enriching Christ-centered education
  • CIU is SACSCC and ABHE accredited to ensure students’ academic & spiritual growth
  • Students receive one-on-one attention from talented & experienced professors
  • 497 undergrads with an avg. class size of 20, for strong educational experiences
  • Many students receive financial aid if they are eligible
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • A Los Angeles-based private college offering programs in medical sciences, legal studies, and graphic design since 1985.
  • Has weekend programs, including certified  veterinary technology, nurse assistant, and hemodialysis technician.
  • Showcases visual communication students’ artwork and design through campus magazine.
  • 3 campuses in Southern California.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Online MBA program ranked 6th in the USA by CEO magazine.
  • In a university-sponsored survey, 4 out of 5 alumni reported being satisfied with their experience.
  • #1 Online School for military veterans according to Military Times.
  • 75,000+ graduates across all industries offer extensive networking opportunities.
  • My Unique Student Experience (M.U.S.E.) lets students watch, view, read, or hear content.
  • Smartphone app available for on-the-go learning.
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Christian-based business program. 15+ specialization options. ACBSP accredited.
  • 60+ undergraduate & graduate degree options in Liberty School of Business.
  • 2014 Best for Vets Business School by Military Times.
  • MBA program ranked Best Buy Online MBA Regional Program by GetEducated.com.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • A celebrated educational institution focused on chiropractic & health sciences
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News & World Report
  • Logan U is HLC & CCE accredited with a beautiful campus just outside St. Louis, MO
  • Offers bachelor’s & master’s degrees & an exciting doctor of chiropractic degree
  • Special 3+3 Program can shorten time it takes to become a doctor of chiropractic
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses

About Capella University

An accredited online university, Capella University offers bachelor’s, master’s/MBA, doctoral, and certificate programs designed to take you to the forefront of your profession. Our competency-based curriculum delivers both foundational knowledge and real-world skills, so that what you’re learning in your courses is immediately applicable to your career goals.

  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits

Located just steps from the U.S. Capital, the George Washington University is uniquely positioned at the core of U.S. government, policy and law. GW students and faculty benefit from an unparalleled opportunity to study and work alongside leaders in every discipline. Whether on campus or online, you too can take part in the interchanges that shape our community and the world.

  • Online Courses

At the University of Nevada, Reno, we teach public health practitioners how to look beyond physical conditions and consider environmental, economic and sociological factors that impact individual and community health, happiness and well-being.

The online Master of Public Health in Public Health Practice is designed to prepare you for employment in nearly any area of the public health field.

The lessons learned in your online courses can prepare you for whatever area of public health you’re interested in.  Courses include the following:

  • Biostatistics
  • Public Health Biology
  • Research Methods
  • Leadership in Health
  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Finance and Budget
  • Health Informatics
  • Program Planning and Evaluation
  • Public Health Law, Ethics and Policy Analysis

Our 100% onlineand CEPH-accredited MPH program gives you the flexibility to enhance your expertise — and your career — without having to put your life on hold.

  • Online Courses

•        Ranked among the top 20 Regional Universities in the West in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.

•        Listed as one of America’s Best Colleges by Forbes Magazine in 2014.

•        More than 97% of tenure-track faculty holds a terminal degree in their field.

•        Student to faculty ratio of 15:1, and 47.5% of classes have fewer than 20 students.

•        Accredited by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Founded over 60 years ago on the principles of inclusion and social justice.
  • Offers credit for previous life and work experience.
  • Equipped with over 17,000 titles in their library.
  • Has 3 semesters and 6 start dates a year.
  • Located in Pasadena, CA, with instructional sites in Sacramento, Salinas, Santa Cruz, and Visalia as well as online options.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Ranked 25th among the Best National Universities in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • One of the world’s leading private research universities.
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 9:1, and 56.8% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • Has an average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, of 96.8 percent.
  • Dedicated to a strong tradition of integrating liberal and professional education since 1880.
  • Its faculty includes National Academy members, Nobel Laureates, MacArthur Fellows, and more.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Ranked among the Best Business Schools in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Ranked the #1 Public MBA program in the NYC region in 2014 by the U.S. News and World Report.
  • Educates about 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students per academic year at two campuses in New Jersey as well as five satellite locations in New Jersey and Singapore.
  • The only public university in New Jersey in the Association of American Universities (AAU), a group comprising of North America’s 63 leading research universities.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits

Why Choose Widener University?

At Widener University, we proudly cultivate challenging and culturally diverse learning environments where academics, leadership, and service come first. Our curricula are connected to societal issues and challenge students to take social responsibility for their role in today's global society.

Founded in 1821 in Chester, Pennsylvania, Widener is nationally recognized for our commitment to civic engagement, service, and social responsibility. The university has been included on the U.S. President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction every year since its inception in 2006.

  • Online Courses

Featured Schools