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Your College Needs to Be Accredited

  • Colleges — both online and offline — must be accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) to participate in federal student financial aid programs, according to the USDE.
  • Accreditation agencies provide oversight and evaluate the quality of education at the institutions they cover, the USDE points out. Accreditation helps students pick acceptable institutions and is also often a factor in whether credit will be allowed to transfer from one school to another.
  • Before enrolling in any course, check the U.S. Department of Education’s database of accredited schools and programs here. If the school is not listed, contact the institution to find out why. Some schools do not seek accreditation, but still offer quality courses; however, financial aid is not available from the federal government for unaccredited schools.
  • Check the U.S. Department of Education’s list of reputable accreditation agencies here or look at a similar directory provided by the Council for Higher of Education Accreditation (CHEA).