Why Would a College or University Choose to Not be Accredited?

Many students who understand the importance of accreditation will ask the question, “Why would a college or university choose not to be accredited?” Accreditation through any of the national, regional or specialized accreditation agencies may be a voluntary process, but it is a process that most schools would like to complete in an effort to advertise that their programs or the institution is accredited. While educational institutions are not legally required to receive accreditation credentials from a third-party and recognized agency, an institution that does not hold this credential can suffer in one or more ways. Here are just some of the reasons why a school will choose not to pursue accreditation. 

The Process of Accreditation is a Long One

It is easy to assume that a school has chosen not to be accredited if they have not completed the process, but this is not always a correct assumption. A college or vocational school may choose not to obtain accreditation at the present time because of how long the initial accreditation process takes. Depending on the agency and the standards that the institution must comply with, the initial accreditation process can take several years to complete. If the school must make improvements or a program must change the curriculum used to comply with standards, it can take even longer for a school to be granted their initial accreditation. The process may require too much of the school’s resources, and this means that the institution simply cannot afford to make the changes that would be required to earn a credential.

Some Higher Education Institutions Have Lost Accreditation

Some institutions that are currently unaccredited have been accredited at a point in time. Once a school is granted accreditation they do not hold onto this credential for life. In fact, all reputable accreditation agencies have a renewal review process in place to assess the quality of the school or the program after time. A school that does not comply with standards will not be reaffirmed. Rather than passing the reaffirmation process, a school may receive one of two sanctions referred to as warning or probation. If the school is placed on warning, they must correct deficiencies within a 2 year period. If the school is placed on probation, they risk losing their membership if the deficiencies are not resolved. Those who are denied reaffirmation are classified as “unaccredited”.

What Are the Risks of Going to an Unaccredited School?

Colleges choose not to pursue accreditation for many reasons, but if you choose to attend an unaccredited, you must be aware of the risks. One of the biggest consequences of attending an unaccredited school is that you will not be eligible for Financial Aide. Financial Aide applications through the Federal government are only available to students who attend schools that are regionally or nationally accredited. In addition to this, many civil service employers choose not to recognize degrees earned at schools that do not have a recognized accreditation. 

Make sure that you take time to look into a school’s accreditation status before applying. Only apply to schools who are members of recognized agencies and you can protect your interests following graduation. Now that you know why would a college or university choose to not be accredited, you can make a smart choice for yourself.