Understanding CHEA Recognition

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) Recognition process is the examination of the quality, effectiveness, and ability of accrediting organizations to accredit degree-granting higher education institutions and/or the programs that these institutions offer. Accreditation using nationally and professionally approved rigorous academic standards confirms quality assurance and commitment to quality improvement in higher education. Accreditation is a thoughtful initiative that began with the higher education community. Today, just as in 1996 at CHEA’s inception following a referendum of college and university presidents, the higher education community believes that it is capable of monitoring and judgment through peer review to determine academic quality and quality improvement. 

While the U. S. Department of Education (USDE) provides recognition to accrediting organizations, it does not fulfill the same role as CHEA. Integral to CHEA’s philosophy is the principle that academic quality should be determined primarily by the academic community, not by the government. USDE recognizes only those institutional, professional, and specialized accrediting agencies that serve as gatekeepers for federal funds. CHEA recognizes accrediting organizations regardless of their federal financial gatekeeping role and only recognizes those who meet CHEA’s rigorous standards specific to academic integrity, student success, and accountability to the public. 

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