Degrees from accredited online MBA programs matter more than degrees from unaccredited MBA programs. Why? The difference in accreditation status affects employer perception, credit transfer, and financial aid eligibility. Even though accreditation is a voluntary procedure, the US Department of Education does not require schools to undergo the accreditation process, it is an important consideration when deciding where to enroll for an online MBA. Why?
Why is Accreditation Important?
Accreditation is important for all stakeholders (students, schools, government agencies, and employers):
First and foremost, it assists students in their search for suitable schools. Accreditation distinguishes between the schools that meet or exceed minimum standards of instructional quality and course content. Furthermore, in order for students to be eligible to take any number of certification exams (for example, the CPA), students must have completed a program of study at an accredited institution. AND in order for students to qualify for federal student financial assistance programs (loans and grants), students must be enrolled at an accredited institution.
Secondly, it helps schools decide about which advanced standing credits to accept.
For example, if a student is transferring from an unaccredited school to an accredited school, the chances are that some if not all of the credits from the unaccredited school will not be accepted by the accredited school.
Thirdly, the process develops school specific self-improvement goals. By involving administrators, staff, faculty, students, alumni, and advisory boards in the evaluation and planning process schools are able to gather multiple perspectives on how to better meet institutional missions, how to better serve its target populations, and how to become a more attractive workplace. In this capacity, accreditation is a valuable self-regulatory alternative to governmental oversight.
Finally, it gives employers evidence of an applicant’s qualifications. Just as accreditation certifies a school’s educational quality for prospective students, it serves the same purpose for potential employers. Additionally, many employers require that a school be accredited for its employees to be eligible to participate in and receive employer-based tuition reimbursement.
What is Accreditation?
According to the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the national advocate and clearinghouse for accrediting agencies, “accreditation in higher education is a collegial process based on self and peer assessment for public accountability and improvement of academic quality” that typically involves three major activities
- The faculty, administrators, and staff of the institution or academic program conduct a self-study using the accrediting association’s set of expectations about quality (standards, criteria) as their guide.
- A team of peers selected by the accrediting association reviews the evidence, visits the campus to interview the faculty and staff, and writes a report of its assessment including a recommendation to the commission of the accrediting association.
- Guided by a set of expectations about quality and integrity, the commission (a group of peer faculty and professionals) reviews the evidence and recommendation, makes a judgment, and communicates the decision to the institution and other constituencies if appropriate. (CHEA)
What Schools offer Accredited Online MBA Programs?
- American InterContinental University
- Argosy University Online
- Arizona State University Online
- Ashford University
- Ashworth College
- Bellevue University
- Benedictine University Online
- Bethel University Online
- Brandman University
- California Coast University
- California Lutheran University
- Capella University + Grad
- Central Michigan University
- Champlain College
- Clarion University of PA
- Colorado Christian University Online
- Crown College
- DeVry University
- Drexel University Online
- Everest University Online
- Grand Canyon University Online + Grad
- Hawaii Pacific University Online
- Independence University
- Indiana Wesleyan University Online
- Kaplan University
- Liberty University
- National American University Online
- Norwich University
- Penn State World
- Portland State University
- Quinnipiac University Online
- South University
- University of Maryland University College
- University of Massachusetts
- University of Phoenix
- Walden University
- West Virginia University
- Western International University
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