What About Other Accrediting Agencies?

Some non-traditional institutions, particularly within the Christian community, attempt to bypass the standard accreditation process by claiming accreditation from a different agency. Christian magazines are full of ads from schools claiming accreditation from the American Accrediting Association of Theological Institutions, Accrediting Commission International, or even other institutions. My advice is simple: look elsewhere. The standard of higher education accreditation in the United States is through the DofEd/CHEA-approved agencies. Therefore, to seek a degree anywhere else is to risk spending a lot of time and money for a degree that simply won't be recognized by schools or employers.

For Christian colleges, universities, and seminaries I believe that accreditation is a stewardship issue. If a school wants to prepare students to engage the culture in the marketplace or the public square, then the school has a responsibility to ensure that their degree will be accepted. To promote an institution as accredited when it is not clearly accredited by a recognized agency is, at best, a well-intentioned but naive effort to better the reputation of the institution and, at worst, a downright deceptive marketing tactic. (If a school is unaccredited, for whatever reason, then they should clearly present that fact to prospective students so that individuals will not apply under false pretenses. I have much more respect for a school that explains why it eschews accreditation than one which invents its own accrediting agency.) Finally, to convince a student that their unaccredited degree will be viewed in academe and the marketplace as being on equal footing with an accredited one is misleading.

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