Why Accreditation is Necessary
For Immediate Release
Executive Director, University Relations
April 12, 2013
“Why should the university go to all the trouble of getting accreditation?” It’s a question that’s often asked. And it’s one that’s easily answered.
Accreditation for higher education in the United States is a process by which individual colleges and universities go through a peer review process coordinated by a regional commission and the member institutions in a specific geographic region. When a college or university is granted accredited status, it signals that the institution has met rigorous standards for the quality of its education. Areas examined include faculty, curriculum, administration, governance policies, library resources, stability of the institution’s finances, and adequate student services. The standards and the methods used to demonstrate that an institution meets them result from the input of member institutions and are voted on by representatives of the institutions.
Six regional accreditation agencies oversee this process in the U.S. All Seventh-day Adventist higher education institutions are members of their regional accreditation association, and all seek and maintain institutional accreditation through that association. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) is the regional accrediting body for La Sierra University.
Accreditation is important for students attending La Sierra University, as it is for students attending any other Seventh-day Adventist higher education institution. Accredited status offers students:
Flexibility of education plans through transfers and graduate study
At some point in their education, many students want to transfer to a new college or university. It’s important for transferring students to have the course credits they have already accumulated recognized and accepted by their new college or university, rather than having to repeat classes at their new school. Accreditation is an important factor for a college or university when deciding to accept transfer credits. Most colleges and universities will not accept transferred course credits from an unaccredited institution.
Also, when a student completes an undergraduate degree, and seeks to move on to advanced study, graduate schools require that students’ degrees come from an accredited school. For instance, without WASC accreditation, a student from La Sierra University could not be accepted into any of the Loma Linda University healthcare schools.
Financial Aid availability
When the federal government renewed the G.I. Bill for returning Korean War veterans in 1952, it added a restriction that aid eligibility was limited to students enrolled in accredited institutions. This began the linking of student financial aid to an institution’s accreditation status. Currently, students are only able to obtain state or federal financial assistance if the institution they are attending has achieved appropriate accreditation status from an organization recognized by the United States Department of Education. While there are a few national accreditation organizations that are recognized, regional accreditation associations are seen as offering a more comprehensive quality assessment.
More open career paths
Most employers prefer job applicants who have received their education from an accredited college or university. And when an employee begins to seek education to further their career, an institution’s accreditation status is a significant factor many companies consider when deciding to provide their employees tuition coverage or assistance.
Clearly, students benefit when the university they attend is fully accredited. Financial aid availability gives access to higher education to many students who otherwise would never be able to afford this cost. The quality of education that accreditation affirms makes our students attractive to graduate schools and top-level professional programs. La Sierra University believes maintaining its accreditation is a vital service to our students.
- La Sierra University Accreditation: A Brief History (April 5, 2013)
- Is La Sierra University Leaving the Adventist Church? No! (March 15, 2013)
- Vote on La Sierra University Bylaws changes postponed; Constituency Delegates share feedback on proposals (March 5, 2013)