Be Wary of Nonrecognized Accreditation Agencies


Stephen Barrett, M.D.
November 25, 2016

Accreditation constitutes public recognition that an educational program meets the administrative, organizational, and financial criteria of a recognized agency. In the United States, educational standards for schools are set by a network of agencies approved by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) or the Council on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation (CORPA). USDE and CORPA do not accredit individual schools, but they approve the national and regional agencies that do so. Almost all such agencies are voluntary and nongovernmental.

In addition to nonaccredited schools, there are also nonrecognized agencies. The following entities are not approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Therefore any so-called “accreditation” by these entities should be considered meaningless:

  • Accreditation Governing Commission of the United States of America
  • Accrediting Commission for Specialized Colleges
  • Accrediting Commission International—based in Arkansas
  • Accrediting Commission International for Schools, Colleges and Theological Seminaries
  • Alternative Institution Accrediting Association
  • American Association of Accredited Colleges and Universities
  • American Association of Drugless Practitioners Commission on Accreditation
  • American Association of International Medical Graduates
  • American Association of Non-Traditional Private Postsecondary Education
  • American Council of Private Colleges and Universities
  • American Education Association for the Accreditation of Schools, Colleges & Universities
  • American Naturopathic Medical Certification and Accreditation Board (ANMCAB)
  • American Psycotherapy (sic) Association
  • Arizona Commission of Non-Traditional Private Post Secondary Education
  • Association for Distance Learning (ADLP)
  • Association for Online Academic Excellence—possibly based in Wales
  • Association of Career Training Schools
  • Association of Christian Colleges and Theological Schools—based in Virginia
  • Asssociation for Comprehensive Energy Psychology (ACEP)
  • Board of Online Universities Accreditation
  • Central States Council on Distance Education
  • Commission for the Accreditation of European Non-Traditional Universities
  • Commission on Medical Denturitry Accreditation (COMDA)
  • Council for International Education Accreditation (CIEA)
  • Council for the Accreditation of Correspondence Schools
  • Council on Medical Denturitry Education (COMDE)
  • Council on Postsecondary Alternative Accreditation
  • Council on Postsecondary Christian Education
  • Distance Graduation Accrediting Association
  • Distance Learning Council of Europe
  • Education Commission for Integrative Health (ECIH)
  • European Council for Distance & Open Learning
  • Higher Education Accreditation Commission
  • Higher Education Services Association
  • Inter-Collegiate Joint Committee on Academic Standards
  • International Accreditation Agency for Online Universities (IAAOU)
  • International Accreditation Association
  • International Accreditation for Universities, Colleges and Institutes
  • International Accrediting Association
  • International Accrediting Association for Colleges and Universities
  • International Accrediting Commission for Schools, Colleges and Theological Seminaries
  • International Association of Non-Traditional Schools
  • International Association of Universities and Schools
  • International Commission for Higher Education
  • International Commission for the Accreditation of Colleges and Universities
  • International Commission of Open Post Secondary Education
  • International Council for Open and Distance Education
  • International University Accrediting Association—based in California
  • Mid States Accrediting Agency
  • Middle States Accrediting Board
  • National Academy of Higher Education (NAHE)
  • National Accreditation Association
  • National Association for Private Nontraditional Schools and Colleges
  • National Association for Private Post-Secondary Education
  • National Association of Alternative Schools and Colleges
  • National Association of Open Campus Colleges
  • National Commission on Higher Education
  • National Council of Schools and Colleges
  • National Distance Learning Accreditation Council
  • Non-Traditional Course Accreditation Body
  • Northwest Regional Accrediting Agency
  • Pacific Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Southern Accrediting Association of Bible Institutes and Colleges
  • Southern Association of Accredited Colleges and Universities
  • Transworld Accrediting Commisssion (TAC)
  • United Congress of Colleges—Ireland, UK
  • Universal Council for Online Education Accreditation (UCOEA)
  • US-DETC—Nevada (not to be confused with the legitimate DETC, based in Washington DC.)
  • Virtual University Accrediting Association—based in California
  • West European Accrediting Agency
  • Western Accrediting Agency
  • Western Association of Private Alternative Schools
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (note: This name is also used by a recognized accrediting agency.)
  • Western Council on Non-Traditional Private Post Secondary Education
  • World Association of Universities and Colleges—based in Nevada
  • World Online Education Accrediting Commission
  • World-wide Accreditation Commission of Christian Educational Institutions
  • Worldwide Accrediting Commission

This page was revised on November 25, 2016.