The Re-Accreditation Process

It's every student's worst nightmare: you've carefully investigated and enrolled in a school, only to find out that the school is on warning or slated to lose its accreditation status. What does this mean for you? It depends on how far along you are in your degree program. If you have more questions after reading our article, ask us on our Facebook page.

Understanding why schools can lose accreditation

When a school is in violation of the standards of the accrediting agency, the agency will issue a warning period in which the school can get its act together (provided the violations aren't severe enough). If the school can reverse the situation that caused the warning then they will be taken off probation. If the school is unable to undo the situation, they will lose their accreditation standing.

Accreditation

A number of factors can cause a school to lose accreditation, not all of which necessarily mean the school is poorly educating students. For example, a school may be placed on probation if it has too few faculty members for the size of its student body-something which has happened to public community colleges in recent years, as funding has been slashed while enrollments have skyrocketed. Other violations include inappropriate relations between faculty and student members, or instructors without the necessary educational backgrounds.

What happens after a school loses accreditation

In many cases, a loss of accreditation will force the college or university to close its doors. This is because the school will no longer be eligible to receive federal and state financial aid, which is a significant source of funding for many schools. It's not illegal for a school to operate without institutional accreditation, however, so in some cases the school may continue to enroll students. 

An ounce of prevention

...is worth a pound of cure when it comes to your school and accreditation. It's best to do your research beforehand, to avoid putting yourself in this tough situation. Investigate a  school's history of accreditation on the accreditation agency's website, before you enroll. Research any warnings the school has received, and see if it has ever lost its accreditation before. While you can't predict the future, you can choose a school that looks to be on more solid footing with its accreditation agency over one which has been issued multiple warnings.

If you've already earned your degree & your school loses accreditation

So you've completed your degree, only to find out a year or two later that your alma mater has lost its accreditation. In this case, you should be fine, but you should be prepared to explain the situation to prospective employers. The school's past accreditation agency should have a record of the school's years of accreditation; make sure you bookmark this page, in case you need to send it to employers.

If you're still working on your degree program

If you're still working on your degree when your school loses accreditation, your best bet is to transfer out. Other accredited schools are likely to accept your transfer credits, which were earned while your old school still had accreditation. It's inadvisable to continue at a school without legitimate accreditation-for one, you'll likely have to pay out of pocket for tuition, and your future employers may not recognize your degree. (ed.gov)

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