Who Serves on Accreditation Review Teams?

Accreditation review teams look at a number of factors when determining if it will give accreditation to a specific school. In the United States, there are more than 50 organizations that offer accreditation for colleges and universities on a national level and several organizations that offer regional accreditation. Some private and religious institutions also seek accreditation from organizations that offer religious accreditation. These review teams ensure that the schools properly prepare students for their future careers and for life once they leave campus. Most teams feature professors and experts in the educational field.

What Do They Look For?

The accreditation review teams working for different organizations look at the success of the school. The team might look at the graduation rate of the school, how many graduates find work immediately or within six months of graduating and how the school uses tuition money. This ensures that the school offers students real life learning and experiences that will help them and that the school uses tuition money to increase the experiences of students. Many accrediting organizations will also consider the type of classes offered, how many students enroll every year and the experience of its professors.

Types of Accreditation

The U.S. Department of Education identifies accrediting bodies as being national, regional or religious organizations. National boards, including the Council on Occupational Education, Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology and the Distance Education and Training Council identify schools that have courses that students can transfer to other colleges across the country. Regional organizations focus on identifying schools within a specific region, while religious boards identify the top schools with a religious focus. 

Who Serves on the Teams?

Those serving on accreditation review teams have experience in the educational field. Many of the top organizations hire former and current college professors, deans and teachers from lower levels. The accreditation teams want individuals who have knowledge of what students want and need. Some accrediting boards also bring in current and former presidents of different schools. If one of the members worked for a specific school in the past or currently works for that institution, the board will often recommend that the person step back from the proceedings. The board members look at all aspects of the school and vote to determine if the school deserves accreditation. Accreditation boards can also determine if a school should lose its accreditation. 

Accredited Schools

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the Secretary of Education is responsible for maintaining a list of schools in the country with accreditation. The Secretary of Education keeps an up to date list that includes schools seeking new accreditation and schools that have problems maintaining accreditation. Students can read through those lists and look through the database before choosing a new school.

Students attending schools with accreditation can apply for federal student loans and grant money. Some schools list accreditation from bodies that the federal government does not recognize, which makes it difficult for students to obtain the funds they need to pay for their education. Accreditation review teams offer accreditation for schools that offer the best programs, provide students with a good foundation and have a high graduation rate.