Regional vs National Accreditation: What’s The Difference

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When looking into what college or university you want to attend, one of the biggest influencers of your decision should be whether or not the institution in question is accredited.


In 2014, University of the People received national accreditation by the DEAC. Because this “stamp of approval” reflects the high quality of our institution, this was a huge milestone for us.


One of University of the People’s ambitions is to be known as one of the best online universities in the world — and because we are well known for standing strong by the saying “for the people, by the people,” we also try to accommodate the wishes of our students as much as possible. Our students have requested that we apply for regional accreditation and, as a result, University of the People has applied for Eligibility from the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
But first, we’d like you to understand the difference between national and regional institutional accreditation, and how UoPeople fits in. Here is a comprehensive look into institutional accreditation and UoPeople’s ambition to further strengthen our high-quality academics.



What is Accreditation?

Accreditation is a process under which an independent body evaluates a college or university to determine whether it meets academic and ethical standards. This peer-review process is the primary means of assuring educational quality in the United States.


Accreditation ensures that the degree programs offered by an institution will be recognized by both employers as well as other colleges and universities.



National vs Regional Accreditation

What is Regional Accreditation?


Regional accreditation is granted by six different agencies who oversee institutions within a particular region of the US. Institutions that are regionally accredited focus on studies that are state-owned.



What is National Accreditation?


National accreditation is granted by agencies that accredit schools nationwide. National accreditation agencies are more focused on providing accreditation for a variety of degrees and certifications.



Soon There Won’t Be a Difference


The US Department of Education recently decided that starting July 1, 2020, colleges and universities will no longer be distinguished by regional and national accreditation because all accrediting agencies are held to the same standards.



What Accreditation Does UoPeople Have?

As the Education Revolution, University of the People offers affordable, tuition-free, online, degree-granting educational programs to any qualified student worldwide. We exist to open the gates to higher education no matter where you’re from, what’s your background, or what you own. At the same time, we also prioritize the quality of our academics. That’s why acquiring accreditation by prestigious accrediting agencies, recognized by the US education ministry, is one of our top priorities.


UoPeople is Accredited by the DEAC


University of the People has been nationally accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) since 2014.


The DEAC is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a recognized accrediting agency. The DEAC is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). To learn more about UoPeople’s accreditation click here.


University of the People is also approved by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE).



BPPE Recognition


The Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) oversees private, post-secondary institutions operating in California, including University of the People. The BPPE establishes and enforces standards for California institutions and protects consumers.


UoPeople is always in full compliance with the BPPE and reports to the DEAC and BPPE on a regular basis to ensure our academic and ethical integrity.


As required by law, UoPeople submits annual reports which include information about our educational programs, program costs, post-graduation job placement rates, and more. This information is publicly available so that applicants are able to make an informed decision when choosing to attend UoPeople.



Registration in Different States


UoPeople is registered with and permitted to operate as an online university in all US states. The university complies with the requirements of each state and reports to each state annually as required by law.



UoPeople Applied for WASC


University of the People has applied for Eligibility from the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). The WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) is a regional accrediting body for the western region of the United States. Through the accreditation process, WSCUC helps institutions in developing and maintaining effective educational programs. It is meant to assure the public that an institution has met high standards of quality and effectiveness.



Why Did We Approach WASC for Additional Accreditation?

UoPeople decided to pursue another layer of accreditation by applying for regional accreditation from WASC.


That means that while we already have accreditation by the DEAC, as an American university, we receive many requests from our students to additionally apply for regional accreditation. As a university “for the people by the people”, we care about our community of students and listen to their requests. Since many of our students requested UoPeople to also apply for regional accreditation, we decided this was the right move for us.


Accreditation validates the high ethical and academic standards of our institution. Additional accreditation only strengthens the validity and transferability of our courses and degree programs.



The Official WASC Announcement

University of the People has applied for Eligibility from the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).


WSCUC has reviewed the application and determined that the institution is eligible to proceed with an Application for Accreditation. A determination of Eligibility is not a formal status with the WASC Senior College and University Commission, nor does it ensure eventual accreditation. It is a preliminary finding that the institution is potentially accreditable and can proceed within five years of its Eligibility determination to be reviewed for Candidacy or Initial Accreditation status with the Commission. Questions about Eligibility may be directed to the institution or to WSCUC at or (510) 748-9001.


University of the People is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a recognized accrediting agency. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). To learn more about UoPeople’s accreditation, click here.



So What Now?

It’s important to remember that here at University of the People, we are committed to our mission to break the barriers that stop students from pursuing a higher education. We exist to allow any qualified applicant to pursue his or her degree.


This means that, despite the possibility of getting additional accreditation by WASC, we will always remain a tuition-free university. Our modest assessment fees and one-time enrollment fee, however, will not change. In the case of any sort of change, we will be sure to notify our students far in advance.


According to WASC’s formal message, the process of getting their accreditation can take up to 5 years until we receive a response. Students should refer to the WASC website to learn more about the implications if and when UoPeople is to be accredited.