April 8, 2020
Regional versus National—No More!
Over several years now, a debate has persisted regarding the perceived value of Regional versus National accreditation. While a case could be made for differences between the two types, such as the location of institutions, academic focus, and governance, little difference existed in quality.
Unfortunately, the perceived difference in quality has resulted in years of states, agencies, organizations, and other higher education institutions giving favorable treatment to regionally-accredited institutions. As a result, students from nationally-accredited programs were often robbed of opportunities to transfer credits, apply to graduate programs, and sit for professional licensure exams. This discrepancy has finally been addressed by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE).
This year, the USDE moved to uphold the equivalent quality of all institutions which they accredit by eliminating the arbitrary and inconsistent geographic designations. No longer do regional accreditors operate in specific geographic areas. The expansion of online and distance education has all but eliminated “regional” schools. Schools from the smallest to the largest tout enrollments from around the U.S. and from around the globe.
The New Reality
The new reality has prompted the USDE to adapt to national and global education by providing states and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the USDE’s accrediting body, with new guidance and new language. Below is an excerpt from the USDE letter:
“On February 26, 2020, USDE Principal Deputy Under Secretary Diane Auer Jones sent a letter to state higher education leaders concerning the final accreditation and state authorization for distance education regulations. The letter highlights that the new regulations have removed geography from an accrediting agency’s scope, meaning USDE will no longer distinguish between regional and national accrediting agencies but will classify accrediting organizations as institutional and programmatic accreditors.”
Ultimately, this change is one more indicator that the courses and degrees completed by students at our institutional-accredited university have the same value as those achieved at all other institutional-accredited academic institutions, regional or otherwise. Students and supporters can expect to see NationsU’s ongoing commitment to student success and exceptional quality of education open doors for an increasing number of students around the world to study God’s Word.
David Srygley, D.Ed.Min., M.P.A.
Chief Academic Officer
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