How to Make Sure Your College is Accredited by US Authorities - Is it Legit?

The agencies listed below are the official educational regional accreditors in the United States and Puerto Rico.

Is Your Online Degree Program Valid?

Diploma mills and scammers will often create a false "accreditation" from some official sounding to rip you off.  But if you go directly to the official agency (listed below) --and check any program out for yourself -- well, that's just the smart thing to do.

One thing I always look for is the ".edu" at the end of a school's URL. (web address) Since October of 2001, only institutions officially accredited by the Department of Education accrediting agencies have been allowed to apply for and receive the domain extension .edu.

Generally, if you see the .edu at the end of a URL it's a major clue that you are looking at an accredited institution. If you don't see the .edu -- you gotta ask - WHY NOT?

Having said that, I must strongly warn you that there were quite a few .edu's issued to non-accredited entities before the restriction in 2001. So, just because you see the .edu does not automatically pass the website as totally legit. You still need to check with the Dept. of Ed accrediting agencies to verify the legitimacy of the institution.

Caution: Just because an institution is accredited doesn't mean every credit you earn there will transfer to any other accredited college.

That's a whole 'nother ball of wax.

United States College Accreditation Agencies:

United States Education Accrediting Agencies

The Middle States Association of Colleges andSchools.
Delaware,District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York,Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico.

The New England Association of Schools &Colleges.
Connecticut,Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont.

The North Central Associationof Colleges and Schools.
Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota,Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming.

The Northwest Association Of Schools And Colleges.
Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Alabama, Florida , Georgia , Kentucky , Louisiana , Mississippi , North Carolina , South Carolina , Tennessee , Texas , Virginia

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges.California, Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, the Pacific Basin, and East Asia, and areas of the Pacific and East Asia.

The Distance Education and Training Council (DETC)
Correspondence study and distance education institutions. This organization accredits some absolutely fantastic schools, but the accreditation comes with a caveat.  Your credits may not transfer to other accredited schools.

List of Fake, Phony Accreditation Agencies
Get Educated is a leader in spotting fake agencies and has collected this giant list for over 20 years.  Do yourself a favor and check this list before enrolling.