Campus & Online Colleges, Universities & Online Schools

Why is Accreditation Important?

The easiest way to ensure you are applying to a legitimate institution of higher learning is by checking their level of accreditation. Accreditation is a process of certification of an institution of higher learning's academic credentials. "Schools" that operate as diploma mills are usually not accredited by legitimate accrediting agencies or are not accredited at all.

The gold standard for accreditation in the United States is regional accreditation. The majority of major colleges and universities hold regional accreditation by one of six regional accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. government. Credits earned by studying at a regionally accredited school are generally transferrable to any other accredited school.

Other valid accreditations in the U.S are national accreditation, which certifies a school on a national or worldwide level, professional accreditation which usually certifies a certain program or course of study, and religious accreditation for legitimate seminaries and schools of religious teachings.

While distance learning is a wonderful way to further your education, it is important to know what level of degree or certification you want to achieve. It is equally important to ensure you are attending a properly accredited school as diploma mills often hold low or no academic standards and their degrees hold no value. With this information in mind, explore your options and enjoy your educational endeavor.

Beware of Diploma Mills

While higher education can indeed pave the road to greater monetary riches and life enrichment there are some institutions that pose as legitimate colleges and universities but actually take students' money whilst providing fraudulent and worthless "degrees." These will have no real worth and will not help you achieve success in the job market and they generally provide little or no educational value.

"Schools" of this type are often known as "diploma mills." While they are illegal in some countries and parts of the United States they are still able to exist by exploiting loopholes or maintaining charters in countries where prohibitions do not exist or are completely ineffective. In the U.S. there is no federal law against an institution issuing "degrees" without merit. While some states do have such laws, many do not.

Often, diploma mills are able to function by taking the identity of a well known school with whom they are not actually affiliated. Another disturbing trend is a loophole that allows "schools" to declare themselves "bible colleges" or "seminaries" allowing them to exercise their "freedom of religion" as afforded by the Constitution of the United States.

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Additional Resources

United States

IPEDS College Opportunities On-Line
"...direct link to over 9,000 colleges and universities in the United States. If you are thinking about a large university, a small liberal arts college, a specialized college, a community college, a career or technical college or a trade school, you can find them all here...You can search for a college based on its location, program, or degree offerings either alone or in combination. The more criteria you specify, the smaller the number of colleges that will fit your criteria. Once you've found some colleges of interest, you can obtain important and understandable information on all of them."
- National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education

Academic Institutional Profiles (Science Department Stats)
- National Science Federation

Catholic College Search
From the National Catholic College Admission Association (NCCAA)

The Center - Research Universities Ranking

College and University Rankings
"The purpose of the rankings site is to draw together and provide context to various online sources of information on the ranking of institutions of higher education. We try to only provide links to stable sites offering original information.These sites rank colleges with criteria ranging from the academic to the spiritual."
Education and Social Science Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

College Board Online
Official information on the SAT and more.
Sections include: Planning for College ; Taking the Tests ; Finding the Right College ; Getting into College ; Paying for College ; College Quickfinder.

Community College Web
"This site contains a searchable index to the web sites for 1298 community colleges in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere around the world."
Maricopa Center for Learning and Instruction, Maricopa Community College

Community-College.org
Search U.S. community colleges and schools by state.

Historically Black Colleges & Universities
Educational On-Line

HBCU-Central.com
"The Megasite for Information and Services Related to Historically
Black Colleges and Universities."

IPEDS College Opportunities On-Line (COOL) Search Page
From the National Center for Education Statistics

U.S. Department of Education

Canada

Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC)

Canadian Universities
Listing of home pages

info Canada
"Information and links to Canadian and Argentine Universities, Institutions, Culture, Resources. Useful for Canadian Studies, Graduate Studies and Tourism."

Mexico & Latin America

Higher Education in Latin America
Extensive listing from the Latin American Network Information Center, University of Texas, Austin

LANIC - Mexico
Latin American Network Information Center, University of Texas, Austin.

International

Study in Europe
Your Portal to Higher Education
Online databases include a University Finder, University Index as well as information on educational systems for each country, living conditions and descriptions of individual countries and college cities.

Universities Worldwide
Maintained by Klaus Fˆrster.

Academics-India
Information Website for Higher Education in India

Australia - Commonwealth Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs (DETYA) 

Education Network Australia (EdNA Online)
"The EdNA Directory Service is an Australian developed directory of online education and training information and services for the whole Australian education and training community."

Study in Europe
Your Portal to Higher Education
International Education Information Centre (InterEdu)

Universities and Colleges in Ireland
From BUBL LINK - Catalogue of Internet Resources

Online Degree Information

Find information on online degree programs and online courses. Learn more about earning a degree online through distance education and browse through accredited online and campus-based schools, colleges and universities. Discover degrees by subject category or degree level (e.g. associate, bachelor, master or doctoral). Further your career and improve your earning potential - get educated today!

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