About CHEA

About CHEA

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation serves its members, students, and society through advocacy for the value and independence of accreditation, recognition of accrediting organizations and commitment to quality in higher education.


  • Is a major national voice and advocate for higher education accreditation and quality assurance.
  • Scrutinizes accrediting organizations for their effectiveness in advancing academic quality and serving higher education, students and the public.
  • Recognizes U.S. accrediting organizations, including regional, institutional, national faith-related and programmatic accrediting organizations.
  • Serves as a national and international authority on accreditation and quality assurance and an unsurpassed information resource.
  • Supports and works to advance the role of accreditation in maintaining the core academic values of higher education – commitments to institutional autonomy, academic freedom and institutional mission.
  • Provides a major national and international forum for communication and exchange among accrediting organizations, institutions and programs.
  • Is governed by a 20-person board of college and university presidents, institutional representatives and public members. 

    Accreditation text

CHEA’s Purposes


  • A primary national voice for accreditation and quality assurance to the U.S. Congress and U.S. Department of Education.
  • A leading national voice for accreditation to the general public, opinion leaders, students and families.

Serving Members and the Public

  • National leader in identifying and articulating emerging issues in accreditation and quality assurance.
  • National forum to address issues of mutual interest and concern in accreditation through conferences, meetings and Webinars.
  • Authoritative source of data and information about accreditation and quality assurance.
  • Projects and initiatives to strengthen accreditation and its role in serving the public interest.
  • Conferences and meetings.
  • Databases and directories of accredited institutions and programs and accreditation and quality assurance bodies.
  • Convener of international discussions of accreditation and quality assurance through the CHEA International Quality Group.


Recognition is the scrutiny and affirmation of the quality of regional, institutional, national faith-related and programmatic accrediting organizations. CHEA is the only nongovernmental higher education organization in the United States that undertakes this scrutiny. The federal government, through the U.S. Department of Education, conducts governmental recognition reviews.

CHEA Recognition Standards


  • Promotes academic quality and advances student achievement. Advancement of academic quality is at the core of accreditation. Accrediting organizations provide evidence that they implement and enforce standards, policies or procedures regarding the accrediting organization’s expectations for academic quality and results associated with institutional or program performance.
  • Demonstrates public accountability for performance and transparency. Public accountability for performance and transparency includes expectations related to the following three elements: (A) performance of accrediting organizations, (B) performance of accredited institutions or programs and, if applicable, (C) performance of accrediting organizations engaged in international activity.
  • Sustains an effective accreditation structure and organization. A recognized accrediting organization provides evidence that it implements standards, policies and practices and sustains organizational characteristics consistent with CHEA requirements.

What is the Value of Accreditation?


  • Helps assure that a neutral, external party has reviewed, using appropriate peer expertise, the quality of education provided by an institution or program and offered suggestions for improvement.
  • Provides for eligible students to have access to federal financial aid if they attend institutions accredited by accreditors that are recognized by USDE.
  • Signals to prospective employers that an educational program has met widely accepted educational standards. A particular field may require graduation from an accredited program or institution

Where is Information About Accredited Institutions and Programs Available?

All accrediting organizations provide information to the public about the institutions and programs they accredit and when those institutions and programs have been reviewed. This is available on the accrediting organization’s website.

For a complete list of recognized accrediting organizations and their accredited institutions or programs, you may also visit:

Additional Resources

CHEA At-A-Glance

Frequently Asked Questions