What About International Accreditation?

The?approach to accreditation in in the United State is different than the quality control process of most other countries.? Outside of the U.S., institutions generally require some type of governmental approval or charter in order to grant degrees.

One method for evaluating international schools has been labeled Generally Accepted Accrediting Principles or GAAP. Although often attributed to Dr. John Bear (see his discussion of GAAP and accreditation), the term was apparently coined in a presentation at an American Association of Collegiate Registrar and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) conference a few years ago. Anyway, for an institution to be viewed as meeting GAAP criteria, it must be accredited by agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation, or the school must be listed in the International Handbook of Universities (published by UNESCO), the Association of Commonwealth Universities Yearbook, the World Education Series (published by AACRAO) or the Country Series (published by the Australian National Office on Overseas Skills Recognition). A parallel set of criteria offered by some university registrars requires that the institution be recognized by the Ministry (Department, etc.) of Education of the country in which the school is located, or be listed in the Association of Commonwealth Universities Yearbook, the International Handbook of Universities, the International Higher Education Encyclopedia, or the World List of Universities.

Since some countries don't exercise any oversight of universities, a school might only achieve GAAP due to the lack of governmental review. As you can see, once you venture outside of North America, a discussion of schools gets a bit more complicated. Caveat lector.

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