Accreditation is a standard of excellence that colleges follow to prepare students for future employment. Colleges will tell you they are accredited, but for one institution just to say they are accredited does not mean that another institution will accept their credits if you need to transfer. In this episode, you will learn how accreditations differ, and why some educational institutions do not accept credits your child may have earned at another site, especially in the case of proprietary colleges. Finding out a college will not accept another's credited coursework for classes your child has already done someplace else can cost everyone both time and money.
Accreditation in the United States
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As your child is planning college, there are a lot of options that I've been talking about. And most of them relate to what kind of disability services are located at that college. But there is another factor that you should consider. And that is the ability to transfer from one college to another, if things at your first choice are not working out the way you expect it. During my experience as a Disability Services Coordinator, I came across many, many students who were unable to transfer credits from one college to another college. And so today I want to talk to you about why that happened, and how to prevent that from happening. So welcome to Mickie teaches college disabilities and success, Episode 87. When choosing a college accreditation matters, with Mickie Hayes, the opinions in this podcast are my own, please reach out to your college physician or legal services for additional information. When you and your child are doing college visits, there are just so many different questions and things and information that you need to keep straight, and make sure that you understand completely. And one of the few things that we ever check on is the ability to transfer credits from one college to another. So let's talk about those differences. Now I had mentioned accreditation as being a real big piece of that puzzle. And I'm going to talk about specific accreditations in a few minutes. Accreditation is the process that colleges use to set their policies in their standards of excellence. And every five years or so, colleges go through a reevaluation of their accreditation to make sure that they are still meeting the standards that the accrediting committees demand. So today, I wanted to take some time to talk to you about accreditation, why it's so important, and exactly what it means and how it can impact your colleges, your child will have a lot of options when he starts looking at colleges. And some of the colleges that are around are what I would call a quick version of an education. They may be called colleges, but sometimes they're referenced as schools or academies. But regardless of their name, their whole perspective is to get the student through a quick education in that means they give you a certification for a particular skill, and you can then take that skill and go off and get a job. And there's nothing wrong with that if it's a legitimate place, and you know, their credits are good. And you know that the education that you are presenting at your job is one that the employer will recognize and accept. So there's nothing wrong with that the program is usually happened quickly. They're usually proprietary schools, you may be in and out in a few months with just the basic knowledge you need in order to get a job. And that's fine. If that's what you're after. Now, whether or not they offer Disability Services, and how much disability services they can offer. You may be up for debate, but you need to do your homework to find that out as well. But every college out there is going to claim that they are accredited and all accreditations are not created equal. So that's why it's so important to understand what that all means. I had so many students who came to my office wanting to transfer credits out of a proprietary school into our community college. And they found out much To their dismay, that our college would not accept their credits. Now, that doesn't mean that all state colleges and universities won't accept credits from other educational sites. But so many of the students were misled, because they believed that the education that they had already accomplished would transfer to us and that they could turn that into a degree and that's where they ran into issues. The department of education in the United States provide certain credentialing and accreditation information that you should be aware of. And so I am going to read this straight off of the Department of Education website, so that you can get firsthand information of the kinds of accreditation necessary at colleges and universities. Types of accreditation. There are two basic types of educational accreditation, one referred to as institutional and the other referred to as specialized, or programmatic. institutional accreditation applies to an entire institution, indicating that each of an institution's parts is contributing to the achievement of the institution's objectives, specialized or programmatic accreditation normally applies to programs, departments, or schools that are part of an institution. The accredited unit may be as large as a college or school, within a university, or as small as a curriculum within a discipline. Most of the specialized or programmatic agencies review units within an institution of higher education that is accredited by an institutional accrediting agency. However, certain agencies also accredit professional schools, and other specialized or vocational institutions of higher education that are freestanding in their operations. Thus, a specialized or programmatic agency may also function in the capacity of an institutional agency. Some of these institutions are found within non educational settings, such as hospitals. So basically, when you're looking at accreditation, you're looking at accreditation by the federal government, on colleges and universities to determine that they are following certain standards and levels of achievement. And as you can tell from the information I just read, a college will have multiple accrediting credentials, because they'll have the institutional accrediting credential. But they may also have the specialization credential as well. So credentialing and accreditation is a very complicated situation. But that's why it's so important for you to make sure that the institution you're attending, does, in actuality, have accreditation by the federal government. A lot of times, institutions will claim that they are accredited, but they are accredited by something other than by the federal government. And so the highest standard of education in the United States is based on that established by the federal government's institutional accreditation. So as you can see, there are a lot of accreditation issues that you need to pay attention to. Now, sometimes colleges will say to you, yes, they're accredited. Yes, they transfer, but they're not being very specific about exactly where they transfer to, like, do they only transfer to another college? That's the same as them? Or do they transfer to any college in the country, but you want to check not only if they're going to transfer the credits, but if the college you're going to go to has any limitations on the credits they will receive? Now, when you ask these questions, you can be much more specific about them. So you can say I'm thinking about going to college XYZ. But do you folks here at this college at ABC College? Do you accept the credits from college XYZ, because that may become the situation that I'm in? See, it depends on how you word things when you're talking to some colleges, especially proprietary colleges, where they are really promoting their degrees, or their programs or their certifications. And it could possibly become an issue with the hard sell. So you have to be aware of that. I'm not saying they all do that. There's a lot of good proprietary colleges out there. But you just have to be careful, you really need to check out all the details. I also want to point out that a proprietary college is not the same as a private college, there are private colleges that have the exact same accreditation that state colleges have, because they are set up for those guidelines. They know exactly what the accreditation requires. They've passed the requirements to earn that accreditation. And so be very, very careful don't confuse those two issues, proprietary colleges and private colleges, two different things. Now the other reason that you may want to consider accreditation issues is because colleges have limits on the number of attempts that you can take on a course where I was at we had three attempts, you had your first attempt, if you didn't pass that, then you had your second attempt. But by the third attempt, you were probably on some sort of financial aid probation, and you would not be allowed a fourth attempt. Well, if you still don't pass it at that point, you may find that you have to take the class at a different college, especially if it's a class that you need to graduate. So if I go to a different college to take that class, can I transfer those credits back to my original choice of colleges and add it to my transcript? See transferring credits back and forth from one college to another college can get sticky so you kind of have to be prepared in the eventuality of
anything happening. I mean, sometimes you don't pass a class, and it has nothing to do with your ability to pass the class. It could be the circumstances that you find yourself in that semester, it could be a health issue with your disability that crops up during the semester, you just don't know what the circumstances are. And so, in this case, especially for students with disabilities, knowing the ability to transfer from one university, or one college, to another college, or from one proprietary college, to a state college, is that even possible? Or do you have to start over completely, it's so so very important to find those things out. Because whatever you do, you don't want to find yourself having gone through a whole lot of effort and having spent a whole lot of money and then not coming out the end of it with a degree. So something to consider, I hope this session that I did on accreditation, cleared things up a little bit for you talk to the counselors at your college, get clear understanding of their accreditation, because always remember all accreditations are not equal. And so credits from one college may not transfer and be added to your credits already earn towards your degree. If you have any questions about the things that we've talked about today, please don't hesitate to reach out to me, I'm at Mickie teaches.com or Mickie email@example.com. And that's M I C K i e firstname.lastname@example.org. There's also a link in the show notes today to the federal government's website on accreditation, so that you can dig into that a little deeper if you wish to. And I will also have a resource in my podcast show notes today about questions that you should ask at college insights from a disability specialist where I put together 35 questions, questions that you need to present at the college when you go there to make sure you understand all of the changes that your child is going to experience. So I hope everything makes sense, and I hope everything will work out for you and transferring will never become an issue because that would be the best scenario. But in the meantime, have a great rest of the day. And we'll talk again soon. Bye. Information contained throughout this podcast has been gleaned from my own personal experiences, but to ensure accuracy, please contact the Disability Services at the college of your choice to have first hand information and the most up to date policies and procedures followed by your particular institution of higher education. The content in any of these podcasts is not intended as a substitute for information from legal, educational or medical professionals. Always seek the advice of your attorney or qualified health care provider with any questions you may have with regards to legal educational or medical concerns.
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