What Does it Mean if an Accredited Institution is on Probation?

Many times, when students are comparing both private and public colleges and universities, the potentials will advertise that they are accredited to appeal to students who understand the importance of accreditation. While many different colleges and universities have voluntarily applied for regional accreditation and earned the titled of ‘accredited’, not all of these schools are in good standing with the private, not-for-profit agency that does the evaluations. When a school is not in good standing, the body will give the school a warning or place the school on probation before removing it from membership. It is a very long monitoring process, and all students must go through this process every 2 years to maintain a good accreditation standing. If you have found that a school that you are currently attending or interested in attending is on probation, it is important to understand exactly what this means and how it could affect you. Read on for all of the information that you need to know so that you can make future decisions.

Reaffirmations and How a School Can Be Placed on Probation

When a school is approved for membership to an accreditation body, this body will frequently perform evaluations to ensure that the school still meets the standards of accreditation. Typically the reaffirmation procedures are followed every two years. Schools that are reaffirmed will maintain a good standing with the accreditation body for another two year period, and schools who have failed to progress or meet the standards will receive a warning. A public sanction warning is the first step of the probation process. Schools are given an opportunity to correct the deficiencies during the warning period. If the deficiencies are not corrected by the end of the warning period, the school will then be placed on Probation. Some schools are placed directly on probation depending on the seriously of the non-compliance issue. In this case, the school is given less time to make the corrections required by the accreditation body.

What is the Danger of a School Being on Probation?

You may be wondering how attending a school on probation can put you at risk as a student. Many students assume that this only affects faculty members and profits, but that is not the case. If a school is removed from membership of a regional accreditation body, the school is not qualified to offer students federal financial aide. Also, any courses taken at a time when the school was not accredited cannot be transferred to another institution or used for credit in any way unless the school becomes accredited again. This is a huge risk that you must keep in mind when you find out the school is on probation.

The status of a higher education institution’s accreditation is public record, and when the status changes the student body must be notified. Do not take a warning or a probation status lightly. If you are notified of this, it is in your best interest to transfer your credits while they are valid so that you can protect yourself. Compare programs, check the status of the schools online, and avoid schools who are being sanctioned.