First of all we need to understand the term accreditation! Accreditation is a process of validation in which colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning are evaluated. In order for potential colleges to proceed with the accreditation process smoothly, they must meet the general standards set by the peer review accreditation boards.
There is no central control or authority and there are both good and bad accrediting agencies. Accreditation can be important for the school and student. But to understand its importance is quite confusing because of several factors. Accreditation has no significant standard, it’s like accreditation of one university or institute in one state might not acceptable in another state.
Accreditation is a voluntary process and each college or university may decide for itself if accreditation is appropriate and necessary to accomplish its education mission. Not all the universities need to accreditation from any accrediting agency. Accreditation is only mandatory for those universities that seek Federal Government educational funding.
In United States of America we have number of separate independent agencies that grant accreditation. All of these national and regional agencies of accreditation hold online educational institutions and distance learning programs to the same high standards that are held by the traditional "brick and mortar" institutions.
The Seven recognized online accrediting agencies in US are as follow:
Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSACS) New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS) Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Accrediting Commission of International Colleges and Universities (ACICU) Northwest Commission of Schools, Colleges, and Universities (NCSCU)