What's the point of non-accredited universities?

Really, why waste four years and all that tuition money on what’s basically a worthless degree? Are these schools aimed at senior citizens who like to audit college courses just for fun and learning?

Also, how does a university become accredited and why wouldn’t all of them seek accreditation? Is it expensive to apply for?

Finally, who decides a school is accredited–the government?

Well…just my opinion…but not all universities STRIVE to become non-accredited…some wind up that way by failing standardized tests, or not graduating enough students in a certain discipline. Others have studies towards a certain degree, but those classes aren’t recognized as standard curriculum.

Maybe we should draw the distinction between non-accred universities and 'send me 40 bucks and I’ll send you a doctorate" kinda places.

I know that any major university or college, when threatened with non-accreditation status, will do anything to keep that from happening.

I think that once you’re considered a non=accred, you can’t get federal education money or grants or anything.

I could be wrong, but that’s what I think…


Thanks. I didn’t know an accredited university could lose its accreditation.

Yea, in fact one here in Atlanta just DID, if I recall correctly. I think it was Morris Brown University, something like that.

I may be mistaken…but I think you can be found non-accred in certain studies rather than as a whole.

Not quite sure how that works…but I’m sure there’s a lengthy probation… they do everything they can to help a college out I bet…


I don’t think it’d necessarily be a worthless degree, as long as you’re not talking about a bona fide degree mill.

Pretty much any alien or student abroad people would have “worthless” degrees.

The government doesn’t accredit anyone; it does recognize “accrediting agencies,” of which there are several.

True…forgot about that aspect.

Any foreign country’s degree isn’t recognized in the us…doctors / lawyers, etc…don’t get any recognition here, and I imagine vice versa is true as well…


Sure, schools can loose accredidation. Johns Hopkins medical school just lost accredidation for its internal medicine program by making its residents work over 80 hours per week. Of course, the loss of accredidation will not start until July 2004, by which time it will be rescinded, but you get the idea.

This is patently false.

Many doctors and lawyers from, for instance, Canada have no trouble getting certified in U.S. states based on their Canadian degrees. And the reverse is also true.

It is true that many states will not recognize degrees from some countries, usually due to unfamiliarity with the standards or quality of the institutions involved. And, I’m sure that there are cases where degrees from certain schools or even countries are rejected because of direct knowledge of the standards or quality of education.

It’s not a worthless degree if a prospective employer doesn’t consider the fact your university may not have been accredited.

If you learned this at university, you should consider having it’s accreditation pulled.

Please check your basic facts before posting them as truths.

My neighbor here in Budapest is a pathologist and moved recently to the States after marrying an American. It is true that it didn’t automatically allow her to continue practicing medicine in the US immediately. What she did have to do is pass some sort of licensing exam which made sure her training in pathology was up to US standards, that she understood the procedures in the US medical system, etc. It took her about six months of studying up on the system to get her certification.

One more possibility – a college isn’t accredited until it’s been in existance for a period of time. If you want to start a new college (a legitimate one, that is), you have two options: start out as a branch of another college until you can get accredited (for instance, you can be the Wonderful College branch of Superior University, and grand diplomas from Superior until you get your accreditation).

The other way is to go unaccredited. Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering was doing this. Once they get a track record, they will be accredited (and this will apply retroactively). Olin can get students despite their lack of accreditation because they give all of their students a free ride – full tuition for everyone (and you can get financial aid to help pay the rest). Enough people are willing to risk the problems of accreditation for a cheap education (especially in engineering).

As to how a college gets its accreditation, they are granted by various accrediting boards (in the northeast, it’s the Middle States Board). These do various things (I’ve taken part in the process). The college is required to perform a self-assessment of its strengths and weaknesses, which becomes a massive report to the accrediting board. They study that, and then come to the college for a visit to determine if the college is telling the truth. They sit in on classes, view facilities, and generally check to see if the report conforms to the reality. They also make sure the college is maintaining the standards the board sets for accreditation.

If all is well, the college keeps its accreditation for another ten years. There can also be warnings (“fix this in the next six months”) or actual removal of accreditation (rare; they’ll usually give you a chance to fix the problem first).

For a new college, the process is similar, though it may be even more intense, and does require several years of operation.

Aw, hell’s bells with this accredited business. Sometimes, it can go too far. I cannot give specifics to protect the innocent, but do you know that even some (US State) government workers are REQUIRED to become accredited to do their jobs? What the heck?!?!?! Like, being a part of the government isn’t good enough anymore?

You know, too much of a good thing…even a good idea…is a bad thing. You extrapolate an idea too far, and it becomes so strecthed and distorted from its original intentions. Meanwhile, you and I suffer as it takes ages to bring things back to some semblance of sanity.

  • Jinx
    If there is no definition of “normal”, then we must all be nuts!

Daylon, here is s. 520.06 of the New York bar admissions requirements. I leave it to you to review the requirements of states to the west.

RealityChuck has the process described quite well.

Don’t mistake institutional accreditation (which is also called “regional” accreditation, because it’s handled by regional organizations) for program accreditation. In addition to institutional accreditation (a MUST for any school who wants their students to be eligible for federal financial aid dollars), individual programs (particularly professional ones) may seek specialized, field-specific accreditation. These accreditations (or lack of them) play no role in an institution’s regional accreditation. Perhaps this is where Daylon’s conception comes from.

Yes, some institutions don’t seek institutional accreditation. Maybe they think they won’t ever qualify (too few resources, for example), or maybe they want to do things their own way and are happy to declare “independence” from oversight and from federal $$ (Hillsdale College comes to mind.) Students from these schools may have problems transferring credits or entering graduate school.

It’s much less unusual for specific programs to eschew field-specific accreditation. Sometimes the schools simply don’t agree with the the values of the accrediting association. For example, U-M’s Ed School doesn’t agree with NCATE standards, so they don’t bother. Our teachers still pass their exams and still get jobs, so it’s no biggie.

Now, as for why students go to these places with no real accreditation… some students are surely unaware of the significance of accreditation. Schools can also announce they are accredited by their own sort of specialized body (like, say, the “National Board for Internet Degrees”) and students don’t know the difference. And some students want a certain something so badly (say, for example, a strong denominational affiliation) that accreditation is relatively unimportant to them.

Okay, okay…I’m an idiot…I retract all statements… :wink:


When I entered UW-Platteville it wasn’t ABET (Accredidation Board of Engineering and Technology) accredited (at least in Electrical Engineering, it may have been in other fields). What a lot of students did was take the EIT (Engineer in Training) test to prove that they learned stuff. (UWP had/has a very good pass ratio on the EIT). During my studies UWP got ABET accredited so I didn’t bother with the EIT (not needed for what I wanted to do)


Jinx writes:

> Aw, hell’s bells with this accredited business. Sometimes, it can
> go too far. I cannot give specifics to protect the innocent, but
> do you know that even some (US State) government workers
> are REQUIRED to become accredited to do their jobs? What the
> heck?!?!?! Like, being a part of the government isn’t good
> enough anymore?

What are you talking about? Accreditation is something that a college does, not a person. There may be some completely different process which is also called “accreditation” that may apply to certain people in certain jobs, but that has nothing to do with the subject of this thread.