If you are thinking about taking advantage of one of the many online degree programs offered by colleges and Universities from around the United States, you are not alone. This trend in distance learning has exploded in popularity, due to the convenience and flexibility of the diverse types of programs offered. However, there is something you should keep in mind when considering which program to apply to and/or attend. That is, make sure the program you select is accredited by the U.S. Department of Education. This is important and beneficial to you for many reasons.
Schools are granted accreditation by the U.S. Department of Education for meeting or exceeding certain criteria for excellence in quality of education. It is no different if you choose an online program than if you were to go to a traditional college or University. This accreditation falls under two categories: institutional and specialized. Institutional accreditation pertains to the college or University as a whole, where specialized accreditation pertains to the individuals academic programs within the college or University. Accreditation affects the funding that a college or University receives from the Department of Education. The Department of Education does not govern the colleges and Universities that achieve accreditation. Rather, it works with them to make sure they maintain their levels of excellence and assists them in certain ways to advance.
Choosing an online college or University that has accreditation form the U.S. Department on Education is the most sensible choice. The benefits for you, as a student, are numerous. For example, transferring prior college credits from one accredited college or University to another is easier. Accredited colleges and Universities have agreements with one another to provide smooth transitions for students. Another huge benefit of selecting a U.S. Department of Education accredited college or University is that you will be able to apply for federally funded financial aid in the form of grants, loans, and scholarships. As a student of an online program, you are entitled to financial aid. This obviously makes attending college more affordable, as well as an attainable goal.
Yet another benefit of attending an online college or University accredited by the U.S. Department of Education is the legitimacy of the degree that you earn. Holding a degree from an accredited institution will be more recognized and accepted by potential employers when applying for jobs. In addition, many professional organizations do not acknowledge degree from colleges and Universities that are not accredited, the implication being that the academic standards at a non-accredited institution are not held at as high a standard.
There are so-called online colleges and Universities that do not operate within the limits of U.S Department of Education