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What Does Accreditation Mean for You?

by Joe Aguilar

First of all, accreditation means that your degree is more likely to be recognized by potential employers. Also, if you decide to switch colleges or plan to attend graduate school, your accredited degree should help ensure that your credits transfer. Accredited institutions may also give students access to federally based financial aid programs, such as Federal Pell Grants, work-study programs, and Stafford Loans. You may not use these financial aid tools at unaccredited institutions.

You should remember, however, that accreditation does not guarantee that a school's graduates can transfer their credits or find post-graduate employment. There may be a lot of online schools out there that serve as diploma mills and won't help students with their education, so make sure to check their accreditation first. Different institutions and employers have varying standards for accepting students' degrees, regardless of accreditation. Because of this, students should make sure that the school they want to attend can help them reach their career goals (for example, make sure that the company you want to work for recruits or hires graduates of your prospective school) before spending any hard-earned tuition money.

Accreditation Meaning
Sources:
"Accreditation," Petersons.com
"College Accreditation in the United States," U.S. Department of Education

About the Author

Joe Aguilar is a freelance writer in Boulder, Colorado. He has an MFA in creative writing from Oregon State University.

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