USA Education Quality
Education Quality Accreditation Commission
USA RECOGNITION OF EDUCATION
Foreign governments have a hard time understanding the USA education system since no US government agency such as a Ministry of Education awards licenses or approves an institution's right to award degrees in America. The US Department of Education does not do this and leaves it to the schools themselves to provide the measurement and standards for credibility, education quality and accreditation. No current laws exist at the national level to demand a university of any kind submit to any accreditation approval process, or education quality control measure.
U.S. Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education does not accredit educational institutions and/or programs. However, the Department provides oversight over the postsecondary accreditation system through its review of all federally-recognized accrediting agencies. The Department holds accrediting agencies accountable by ensuring that they enforce their accreditation standards effectively. Also, as a part of the Department's oversight roles, the Secretary of Education is required by law to publish a list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies that the Secretary determines to be reliable authorities as to the quality of education or training provided by the institutions of higher education and the higher education programs they accredit. The Secretary of Education also recognizes State agencies for the approval of public postsecondary vocational education and nurse education.
Many US accrediting agencies carry out accrediting activities outside the United States, these actions are not within the legal authority of the Department of Education to recognize, or to be reviewed.
The United States has no federal Ministry of Education or other centralized authority exercising single national control over postsecondary educational institutions in this country.
State Licensed or Authorized Institutions
Each state assumes varying degrees of control over education, but, in general, institutions of higher education are permitted to operate with considerable independence and autonomy. As a consequence, American educational institutions can vary widely in the character and quality of their programs.
In order to ensure quality, the practice of accreditation arose in the United States as a means of conducting nongovernmental, peer evaluation of educational institutions and programs. Private educational associations of regional or national scope have adopted criteria reflecting the qualities of a sound educational program and have developed procedures for evaluating institutions or programs to determine whether or not they are operating at certain levels of quality.
Each state should provide information about institutions and programs approved to operate in that particular state in the United States. State approval and accreditation are not the same. State approval to operate signifies that institutions have satisfied certain minimum requirements established by a state. Accreditation signifies that an institution has attained a threshold level of academic quality. In most states, approval to operate does not require accreditation.
State government authorities are responsible for regulating postsecondary education within their jurisdictions through the initial approval of providers to offer postsecondary education services, oversight, and the enforcement of applicable state laws and regulations.
State approval and accreditation are not the same. State approval to operate signifies that institutions have satisfied certain requirements established by a state. Accreditation signifies that an institution has attained a threshold level of academic and education quality. In most states, approval to operate does not require accreditation. Use all available resources, including checking with the particular institution and its accrediting organization, to determine if a particular institution meets anticipated needs.
The Role of Accreditation
The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions and/or programs of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality. Accrediting agencies, which are private educational associations of regional, professional programmatic or national scope, develop evaluation criteria and conduct peer evaluations to assess whether or not those criteria are met. Institutions and/or programs that request an agency's evaluation and that meet an agency's criteria are then "accredited" by that agency. Read more…
Some Functions of Accreditation
- Verifying that an institution or program meets established standards;
- Assisting prospective students in identifying acceptable institutions;
- Assisting institutions in determining the acceptability of transfer credits;
- Helping to identify institutions and programs for the investment of public and private funds;
- Protecting an institution against harmful internal and external pressure;
- Creating goals for self-improvement of weaker programs and stimulating a general raising of standards among educational institutions;
- Involving the faculty and staff comprehensively in institutional evaluation and planning;
- Establishing criteria for professional certification and licensure and for upgrading courses offering such preparation; and
- Providing one of several considerations used as a basis for determining eligibility for Federal assistance.
In the United States of America, higher education institutions could meet this quality assurance process which is voluntary and that is monitored by accrediting agencies. Some of these agencies are oversighted by the U.S. Department of Education and some others act as independent bodies. Read more…
The USA's Department of Education provides a list of approved non-governmental private organization of education accreditation that permits their sanctioned and accredited members to qualify for and receive US Government student loan resources. This group is monitored by the CHEA, Council of Higher Education Accreditation, another non-governmental organization. The USA Department of Education, through the CHEA umbrella provides many agencies of accreditation on its approved list. Any school not accredited by these approved bodies, or by an organization recognized by them, is considered unaccredited and usually discriminated in the USA as lacking the necessary education quality. Read more…
Accreditation and Quality Assurance
Accreditation is the process used in U.S. education to ensure that schools, postsecondary institutions, and other education providers meet, and maintain, minimum standards of quality and integrity regarding academics, administration, and related services. It is a voluntary process based on the principle of academic self-governance. Schools, postsecondary institutions and programs (faculties) within institutions participate in accreditation. The entities which conduct accreditation are associations comprised of institutions and academic specialists in specific subjects, who establish and enforce standards of membership and procedures for conducting the accreditation process. Read more…
Both the federal and state governments recognize accreditation as the mechanism by which institutional and programmatic legitimacy are ensured. In international terms, accreditation by a recognized accrediting authority is accepted as the U.S. equivalent of other countries' ministerial recognition of institutions belonging to national education systems. Read more…
Recognition of Foreign Qualifications
The U.S. Department of Education does not evaluate foreign degrees or qualifications.
There is no single authority in the United States for the recognition of foreign degrees and other qualifications. International agreements and the practice in the U.S. education system and labor market recognize the existence of three competent authorities for recognition matters:
- The admitting school or higher education institution, for students who seek to study in the United States and who are presenting credits or qualifications earned abroad;
- The hiring employer, for individuals seeking work and who are presenting degrees or other qualifications earned abroad; and
- State or territorial licensing boards, for individuals seeking to practice regulated professions in a jurisdiction of the United States and who are presenting degrees or other qualifications earned abroad.
Many, if not most, of these competent authorities in turn depend on expert comparability recommendations prepared by credential evaluation services.
Credential Evaluation Services
Credential evaluation services are independent organizations that perform analyses of non-U.S. qualifications and issue recommendations as to how a particular qualification compares to a similar qualification or set of qualifications in the U.S. education system, labor market or the professions.
Credential evaluations are not free, and applicants are responsible for the cost of the selected service. The cost and the time-frame to perform the service will vary according to the complexity of the case and the amount of documentation provided. The entire credentialing process may take weeks to months.
The validity of the degree equivalency report may vary from one Credential evaluation to another. There is not a global or universally accepted credential evaluation report or validation document. Prior to submitting any documents to a credential evaluation service, applicants should make sure that the reports or documents from this validation service will be accepted and in compliance with the receiving institution. Read more…
If you have concerns about a particular university being accepted by employers in your state in the USA or employers in your home country, we encourage you to do your homework before you enroll. Each state should provide information about institutions and programs approved to operate in their jurisdiction, and how they monitor education quality and accreditation.
The EQAC Accreditation for Colleges & Universities
The Education Quality Accreditation Commission is ready and willing to assist in providing accreditation to any college or university willing to expend the effort to prepare a Self Study Report. Accreditation is a competitive issue among US based colleges and universities to ensure education quality. Once outside the boarders of the USA, American accreditation is taken as no better / no worse than any other accrediting standards for higher education quality. What institutions of higher learning should be considering is not adding more local accreditations in their home nation, but a truly international accreditation standard that may serve in the global market arena. See more...
Click to see more about: