What is accreditation?
Accreditation is a both an evaluative process and seal of approval for institutions of higher education:
Accreditation is a voluntary system of self regulation developed to evaluate overall educational quality and institutional effectiveness (The Commission’s complete Purpose Statement is available in Article I, section 2 of its Bylaws). The ACCJC accreditation process provides assurance to the public that the accredited member colleges meet the Standards; the education earned at the institutions is
of value to the student who earned it; and employers, trade or profession-related licensing agencies, and other colleges and universities can accept a student’s credential as legitimate. (www.ACCJC.org)
What is the ACCJC?
The ACCJC is the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. It functions under the umbrella of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and is unique among regional accrediting agencies in that no other such bodies accredit only associate degree granting institutions. The ACCJC accredits community and junior colleges in California, Hawaii, the Territories of Guam and American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Why is regional accreditation important?
There are different types of accreditation, but regional accreditation (there are six regional bodies that cover the United States and its territories) is the most comprehensive. Accrediting commissions set high, institution-wide, and peer-reviewed standards for its member institutions. Other types of accreditation (program and national) are more specialized. For example, nursing programs require special accreditation to ensure specific training levels for future practitioners.
Who oversees the ACCJC?
Each accrediting agency is itself accredited by the Department of Education according to criteria set out by the Higher Education Act and approved by Congress.