Regional vs. National Accreditation: Which is Better?

UNE Online Enrollment Counselors often get the question: Which is better, regional vs. national accreditation?We spoke to Dr. Jayne Pelletier, Director of Accreditation and Policy for CGPS, for an overview.

What is the difference between regional vs. national accreditation?

Credits from regionally-accredited institutions are more widely accepted and more easily transferable than nationally-accredited programs.

Nationally-accredited institutions are generally held to a different, less stringent, set of standards regarding faculty and institutional resources. National accreditation is generally applied to institutions that offer programs with fewer general education or liberal arts requirements and are more vocational in nature. National accreditation is more likely, but not always, the accreditation awarded to for-profit colleges. While students may find costs to be lower at a nationally-accredited institution, students must balance financial costs with the inability to transfer their earned credits or seek professional licensure.

So regional accreditation is better than national accreditation?

Overall, yes. Students have a much better chance of having their credits transferred or having their undergraduate degree accepted toward a graduate degree if those credits are earned at a regionally-accredited institution.

In addition, nationally-accredited coursework and degrees may not be widely accepted for professions that require licensing after degree attainment, which may affect those in licensed careers such as teaching, accounting, engineering, and healthcare.

What kinds of schools are regionally accredited?

In the United States, the most widely recognized form of post-secondary accreditation comes from regional accrediting boards. Regionally-accredited institutions range from community colleges such as Central Maine Community College, to private institutions such as Colby College and Bentley University, to public institutions such as the University of Maine and the University of California, Los Angeles.

Is the University of New England regionally accredited?

Yes! The University of New England is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

Regional Accreditation Coverage Map

Color-coded map showing regional accreditation in the United States

Source: https://www.chea.org/regional-accrediting-organizations

Why the term “regional” accreditation?

Accreditation is regional because each region of the United States is unique and each has its own accrediting body. The country has several distinct and unique cultures, and vastly different socio-economic conditions, so the standards by which the regions are evaluated need to be sensitive to those differences. The culture of the Northeast and its institutions may be different from those in the South or Midwest.

Since the University of New England is located in the Northeast region of the country, the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) is our regionally-accrediting body. NECHE is comprised of professional staff, a board of trustees, and a team of site visitors from peer institutions to gather information and conduct reviews.

What are accreditation standards?

Accreditation standards are the standards by which schools are evaluated. They generally address issues involving academic and financial resources, the quality of programs and curriculum, faculty credentials, mission statements, and student support.


Dr. Jayne Pelletier

Dr. Jayne Pelletier is the Director of Accreditation and Policy for the College of Graduate and Professional Studies (CGPS). She oversees accreditation and policy development to support the operational and academic processes of online programs.

In short, Dr. Pelletier makes sure we are compliant with accreditation standards and that we provide an outstanding education to students.

More Vision Blog resources on accreditation at UNE:

For more information on our accredited online graduate programs, we welcome you to learn more:

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