Regional vs. National Accreditation

Choosing the right university can be challenging and stressful. We are here to help!

There are many different aspects to consider. One major factor to think about is - accreditation. There are two types of accreditation: regional and national. While one is not necessarily “better” than the other, it is important to know the difference between the two.

A regional accreditation means that a university has been evaluated by a regional agency that corresponds with its state. There are currently six regional accreditation associations that preside over different parts of the country. It is the highest level of accreditation, often being considered the gold standard. With regionally accredited schools, credits are widely accepted and transferrable. UMass online programs are regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

In comparison, national accreditation is given by “national agencies” that aren’t organized or limited to certain geographic areas. These agencies typically focus on career, vocational and trade schools. Nationally accredited universities are often less expensive than regionally accredited universities and have more relaxed admission standards. However, it can be hard to transfer into a regionally accredited college or university, and some degrees are not widely accepted for professions that require licensing; like teaching, accounting, engineering and healthcare.

Specialized accreditation is also given to specific departments within a college or university. It is offered by agencies that represent specific fields of study or professional organizations. UMass online schools and colleges have specialized accreditation. For example, all of our business schools are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

It is important for students to make an educated decision about which type best suits their individual needs, and we hope the information provided is resourceful.

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