What Does it Mean When a College is on Accreditation Probation?

When you are comparing different college programs, it is important to select a program that is offered by a school that has gained and maintained an active regional or national accreditation. The current accreditation status of each institution and each program is public record, and prospective students along with current students can actively check the status of any school online. If you are currently in the search of the best program delivered at the more reputable and most convenient school, be sure to understand what terms like “warning” and “probation” mean so that you can steer clear of programs at risk of losing the accreditation.

What is Accreditation and Why Is It Important?

Accreditation is a honor that is granted to high education institutions to show the public and students that the institution and the programs offered by the facility are high in quality. Programs can voluntarily apply to be evaluated by a regional, a national, or a specialized accreditation body. If the school meets the standards set by the agency, they will be granted a temporary accreditation. The body will send individuals to the campus for a walk-through and an inspection to renew the accreditation. As long as the services, resources, and programs are sufficient to sustain the mission to appropriate higher education, the school will be able to keep their honor.

Choosing a school that is accredited is important for several different reasons. For starters, schools must be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education to be able to offer students Federal Financial Aide. Only schools with a regional or national accreditation are recognized by the Department. If you want to be able to apply for aide, accreditation is key. You also cannot transfer any of the units you have earned from a school that is not accredited to a school that is. This means that advancing your degree can become virtually impossible unless you are careful and do the necessary research.

What Do Warnings and Probation Mean?

Every school is subject to a two-year monitoring period. To maintain membership and maintain accreditation, the institution must be able to comply with all of the Commission’s requirements or the school will undergo a more formal review. During the formal review, the institution must prove that they have made sufficient progress to comply with the commission’s principles. If the school cannot show the Board of Trustees that they have made the necessary improvements after receiving the initial warning then the school may be placed on probation. This is a serious sanction and could lead to the school losing their membership if the Board makes this judgement.

An institution has the right to apply for accreditation, but this institution also bears the burden of proof to provide all of the documentation and all of the evidence that the accreditation body requests to prevent removal from membership. If you see that a school is in probation status, it is in your interest to set the school aside until they have proven that they can comply with the standards.