We know how important establishing an educational foundation is to securing your professional and personal goals. And we know that many traditional colleges help you do just that. But in terms of cost and time investments, many students find that an online degree program is the best way to blend academics and the often chaotic pace of life. Plus most programs offer accelerated learning environments which help save time and money over the course of study. All of this and more are reasons why, in recent years, educational trends have shifted significantly from traditional, brick and mortar, on campus programs to the online format.
Chances are great that in pursuit of your aspirations you may feel a bit overextended at times – especially if you are managing work and family responsibilities in addition to your studies. And we know how important your time is especially when your interest lies in establishing an educational foundation as you secure your professional and personal goals. That’s where we step in. We’re here to help you find the best programs which offer stellar academics from reputable schools at the most affordable prices because we know The Importance of Online College Accreditation .
The Benefits of Accreditation
When choosing online education, it’s essential to double check the college’s accreditation to protect your investment. Accreditation is a voluntary validation process where third-party agencies evaluate the school’s educational practices. Reputable online colleges are typically accredited by one of the six regional agencies operated under the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Online schools focused on career or vocational training tend to be nationally accredited by agencies like the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) or Accrediting Council For Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). Choosing an online program that’s accredited will provide the following benefits:
• Degree recognition – Companies generally only recognize online degrees from accredited colleges. Accreditation signifies to employers that you’ve received adequate, meaningful education that will add to their workplace. Attending an accredited online college may be required for certain industry certifications, such as Certified Financial Planner (CFP). Facing the competitive job market with an unaccredited degree could lead to unemployment.
• High academic standards – Diploma mills are constantly popping up to trick online students into paying for unaccredited education. Online universities holding accreditation keep quality teaching a priority to allay fears of incompetency. Accredited colleges maintain transparency in their operations and strive for continuous quality improvement plans. Accreditation safeguards students’ rights and path to success.
• Credit transfers – Most U.S. universities only accept transfer credits from regionally accredited colleges. Credits at unaccredited institutions may be subpar or below the appropriate academic level. Attending an accredited online program ensures you won’t lose vital credits when transferring to other colleges or graduate school. That’s especially important if you’re earning an associate degree online before a bachelor’s.
• Federal financial aid – College tuition is rising faster than inflation, so financial assistance is usually necessary to afford the price tag. The U.S. Department of Education only offers federal loans and grants like the Pell Grant to students at accredited colleges. Many scholarships from state or private organizations also require acceptance at an accredited university among their eligibility criteria.
So, how can you tell if an online college is accredited? Check this Accreditation List or go to the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions. Type your prospective school’s name in the search feature to receive up-to-date information on its accreditation status. And also check our visual guide to Understanding Accreditation.
From the selection process to graduation and even the pursuit of advanced degrees, Accredited Online College is a great place to make informed decisions about online schools and programs.
Accredited Online College Rankings
To help you select a solid, well-respected, accredited online school, we’ve put together following rankings that take into account all the important factors you care about as a student:
Top 15 Accredited Online Colleges of 2014
Top 15 Accredited Schools Online Offering Associate Degrees
Top 15 Accredited Schools Offering Online Bachelor Degrees
Top 15 Accredited Schools Offering Online Master Degrees
Top 15 Accredited Schools Offering Online Doctoral Degrees