How Does Accreditation Impact a Student’s Ability to Transfer?

When you’re looking at colleges, it’s important to ask each school about its accreditation’s impact on transfer students. Whether you’re planning on transferring schools or not, it’s always better to plan for the possibility. Depending on what kind of accreditation your college has, you could be able to transfer with little to no hassle, or you could end up being unable to transfer at all.

National Accreditation

AccreditationThere are two major types of accreditation: national and regional. National accreditation’s impact on transfer students isn’t always good. While you may be able to transfer from one nationally accredited school to another, you might have a hard time if you want to transfer to a regionally accredited institution. In general, you can expect a nationally accredited school to be for-profit. Most of these schools also focus on vocational skills such as culinary arts or automotive technology. If you’re interested in getting a religious degree, most schools that you look at will also be nationally accredited. Before starting at a nationally accredited school, ask about transfer options. Check to see whether previous students were able to transfer and find out how difficult the process was. If the school is unable or unwilling to give you this information, check online.

Regional Accreditation

Regional accreditation’s impact on transfer students is generally better than national accreditation. Regionally accredited schools are usually non-profit and are part of a state’s school system. For instance, community colleges and state universities can be counted on to be regionally accredited. As long as you have decent grades in your courses, most of your credits should transfer without a problem. You may end up getting credit for a slightly different course with a different name, but it will count towards your degree. If you’re transferring from a regionally accredited institution, it’s easier to transfer to another regionally accredited school, but most colleges that are nationally accredited will also be able to accept credits that you’ve previously earned.

Transfer Agreements

Some schools have transfer agreements with one another. If you go to a college that has an arrangement like this, your school’s accreditation’s impact on transfer students won’t even matter. Transfer agreements are most common with regionally accredited schools that are a part of a state’s college system. For instance, many states make sure that all credits earned by a student in any of their community colleges will transfer to any of their four-year universities. If you look on a community college’s website, you’ll usually be able to find a list of courses that will transfer and how those credits will help you complete your bachelor’s degree if you decide to attend a state university. Academic advisers can even help you decide which classes to take if you’re planning on transferring to a four-year college after you get your associate’s degree.

Most colleges in the United States of America are accredited in some fashion. Some are regionally accredited, and others are nationally accredited. The accreditation’s impact on transfer students can be good or bad, so make sure to ask about the transfer process before you agree to attend a school.

Related Resource: Regulation of College and University Accreditation