Frequently asked questions ...

What is the difference between regional accreditation and other accreditors?

What is the difference between regional accreditation and other accreditors?

The U.S. Department of Education does not accredit any high schools, colleges, or universities. Instead, it and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognize bodies with the skills and resources to do so. These accreditors generally fall into the “regional” or “national” categories.

Regional accreditors are the ones that are widely recognized as being able to evaluate and accredit public and private schools. Each operates in only a handful of states, but its accreditations are accepted in all 50. Qualifications and credits from schools that have obtained regional accreditation are also usually accepted without questions by universities and employers worldwide.

National accreditation bodies don’t necessarily offer their services countrywide. Many exist to deliver standards-based reviews to institutions with particular educational models (e.g., Montessori or distance education), particular value systems (e.g., faith-based schools), or defined geographic locations (e.g., a state).

Regional accreditation is commonly regarded as more reliable than national. Many excellent schools have only national accreditation; however, accreditation from one of the seven major regional accreditors offers essential benefits, rights, and protections for enrolled students. In particular:

  • Transfer of credits: Credits earned and grade placement are accepted by regionally accredited institutions for students who transfer from any other regionally accredited institution.

  • Higher education recognition of credits: Higher education institutions in the United States accept credentials for students graduating from regionally accredited institutions without having to further validate credits earned.

About 85% of U.S. colleges can boast regional accreditation, with the remaining 15% being nationally accredited. Regionally accredited schools are more likely to be not-for-profit and offer a broad range of educational programs.

Nationally accredited institutions are frequently vocational and job-related and run as businesses. They may focus on a narrow field of study (e.g., art & design or nursing). Generally speaking, their credits and qualifications are automatically recognized only by other nationally accredited schools. On the positive side, many employers accept nationally accredited diplomas, while these schools are often less expensive and easier to get into.

2Sigma School is a Candidate for Accreditation with NCA CASI (The North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement), NWAC (Northwest Accreditation Commission), and SACS CASI (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement), three of the seven regional accreditation agencies in the US.

2Sigma School has also received accreditation for its educational experience from, the longest continually-operating, privately-held STEM education research and credentialing organization in America.