Accreditation Best-Practices and Implications in a Resource Constrained Environment
Accreditations are third-party verifications of quality. At the extreme, accreditations can be gatekeepers—without the accreditation you cannot operate. Other accreditations are more or less voluntary depending on particular state policies. Accreditation can also provide a roadmap to continuous quality improvement through feedback on a program or a school. The financial consequences of accreditation must be recognized, especially at a time like this when much of higher education is resource constrained or worse. Accredited programs are normally more resource rich; most institutions work continuously to remain in compliance with accreditation standards. The negative consequences of not doing so are too great. On the other hand, there is more flexibility in meeting the needs of unaccredited programs. In challenging financial times, increased needs among accredited programs will likely come directly from unaccredited programs in the absence of any discretionary resources that can be diverted from the non-academic areas.