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

When you are enrolling in a higher education program, it is important to do your homework so that you gain both knowledge and skills. You will need to research the types of programs available, the reputation of faculty members, class sizes, financial aide options, and class schedules, but do you understand the importance of choosing a program from an institution that is accredited? Regional and national accreditation is a voluntary process in which an institution will apply to be reviewed. The accreditation agency will then the quality and integrity of the programs offered by the institution through an rigorous internal and external review process to determine if the school is eligible. If the agency deems that the school meets the standards for accreditation, the school will be labeled as accredited. The school can advertise that it is accredited to attract a larger student body to study.

How Can a School Lose Its Accreditation?

Just because a higher education institution meets the standards of a regional or national body at the time of application does not mean that the school will be classified as accredited permanently. Schools must be reaffirmed on a regular basis once the period of accreditation is near expiration. At the time of reaffirmation, the school will be internally and externally reviewed once again. If the school meets the accreditation standards, they will be reaffirmed. If the school does not meet these accreditation standards, the school can be placed on “Warning” or “Probation”. If the violations are extremely bad, the school may be dropped as a candidate for accreditation entirely without be given a chance to make improvements.

What Does the Public Sanction of “Warning” Mean?

There is a two-year monitoring period for reaffirmation, and during this time the school must be in compliance with the Principles of Accreditation. If the institution is not in compliance with this principles during the monitoring period, the school will be placed on one of two sanctions: Warning or Probation. Being placed on a warning sanction is less serious than being placed on probation. If a school is placed on warning, this means that the school has violated compliance standards or has failed to make progress in correcting deficiencies.

A school can be placed on warning for two years, and if corrections have not been made then the school may be placed on probation. If the issues are serious enough to constitute probation, they are serious enough to constitute the school being removed as a member of the accreditation body. While a warning does not mean the school will be placed on probation, it is a warning sign that all students should be aware of.

When a school is denied reaffirmation and removed from membership, this can affect students who are attending the school. Not only will students lose their financial aide if the school is not accredited, their degrees may not be recognized by licensing bureaus or employers, which can affect their present and future. Take your time to review the status of any school that you are attending, and avoid schools who are being placed on sanctions so that you do not have problems in the future.