ACCREDITED UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES IN SOUTH DAKOTA
Accreditation is a form of independent, professional certification by non-governmental agencies which focuses on universities and colleges and programs in a particular field. Accreditation of universities and colleges in the US and within individual states therefore assures students and their parents that an institution adheres to high quality standards. These standards include the requirement that programs are delivered by qualified faculty, are constantly updated to follow the changes and meet the needs of the relevant industry or working world. Attending an accredited institution or program is often thought to make graduates more competitive on the job market.
Some Functions of Accreditation:
1. Verifying that an institution or program meets established standards
2. Assisting prospective students in identifying acceptable institutions
3. Assisting institutions in determining the acceptability of transfer credits
4. Helping to identify institutions and programs for the investment of public and private funds
5. Protecting an institution against harmful internal and external pressure
6. Creating goals for self-improvement of weaker programs and stimulating a general raising of standards among educational institutions
7. Involving the faculty and staff comprehensively in institutional evaluation and planning
8. Establishing criteria for professional certification and licensure and for upgrading courses offering such preparation
9. Providing one of several considerations used as a basis for determining eligibility for Federal assistance
While the US has no Federal Ministry of Education or other centralized authority exercising single national control over postsecondary educational institutions, various non-governmental accrediting organizations, with some Federal and state government control, have arisen to conduct peer evaluations of educational institutions and programs. These organizations have adopted criteria reflecting the qualities of a sound educational program and have developed procedures for evaluating institutions or programs to determine whether or not they are operating at basic levels of quality.
University and college accreditation in the US takes place at different levels. At the highest level, governmental and other agencies recognize the accrediting bodies. For instance, the US Department of Education (USDE), the Council for Higher Education Association (CHEA) and the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA) grant power to associations that oversee accreditation at the regional, institutional or program level.
When assessing quality, international students can also look at whether a school or program has any memberships in, or endorsements by, professional associations which reflect certain standards of quality, but this is not the same as official accreditation. For instance, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities does not accredit programs, but is a national organization committed to maintaining and promoting the quality of America's higher education system.
Use the links in the menu to read more about the various organizations involved with accreditation in the US, as well as on the different kinds of accreditation: national, regional, faith-related, career-related, programmatic