School Accreditation

School accreditation is a fairly rigorous process, but ascertaining a school’s accreditation is easy. The U.S. Department of Education publishes a list of accredited post-secondary institutions. This database can be found on its website as well as in published form. Although the department itself does not perform accreditations, it approves the institutions that do. Accreditation is basically a guarantee of high quality, based on the standards and practices of the education community.

Accreditation agencies, which are private institutions, thoroughly investigate schools every several years to make sure they are performing all the functions of a school. They check attendance rolls and grades to see if students are deserving of the grades they receive or whether grades are assigned arbitrarily. They interview stakeholders, like teachers and administrators, to see if curricular goals are communicated at all levels and if the staff are properly trained for their positions. They review materials and investigate academic support services for students. They also perform peer reviews, wherein professionals in the field monitor classes to see if they meet industry-wide standards of instruction.

MBA schools found out of compliance must bolster their areas of weakness to achieve accreditation. Because failure to gain accreditation would be a serious blow to enrollment, the accreditation process ensures that schools provide diligent oversight of all the different services affecting student success. Everything from admissions to housing to classroom instruction must meet the accreditation standards. Because schools must promptly address shortcomings, accreditation serves a second goal of forcing schools to adapt and meet industry standards.

In addition to accrediting entire schools, agencies accredit the programs within schools. An MBA program must be accredited along with the university that offers the program. This guarantees students a consistent level of quality throughout the process of gaining an MBA.