What Accreditation Means for Returning Adult Students
What does accreditation mean when considering whether the University of Phoenix is the right school for you? If you are an adult student, interested in returning to college to pursue a degree, it may mean more than you think.
It may help you determine whether the University will be true to its commitment to provide a quality education for working adults — one that uses technology to make classes more accessible and more convenient for students balancing a career, a family and aspirations for more education.
What does accreditation mean?
Accreditation demonstrates that the University is true to its mission, with validation from peers within the higher-education community, according to Vice Provost Kathleen Schnier, PhD.
“Because we are accredited, everything we do is based on our mission,” she said. “We are built around the returning adult student. Everything is created around that.”
The University of Phoenix is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), which rigorously evaluates institutions based on factors ranging from student opinion surveys to on-campus visits to federal compliance reviews.
We are built around the returning adult student. Everything is created around that.
— Kathleen Schnier
The accreditation cycle is 10 years long, and includes an “assurance review” every four years, which University of Phoenix recently completed. The review ensures that institutions continue to meet the criteria for accreditation and are pursuing institutional improvement throughout the 10-year accreditation period.
Schneir notes that during the recent mid-cycle comprehensive evaluation, HLC determined that the University met all criteria.
The accreditation process has four main objectives, according to U.S. Department of Education.
- It assesses the quality of academic programs within the institution.
- It creates a culture of continuous improvement, encouraging institutions to raise the bar on current standards.
- It involves faculty and staff in a more comprehensive fashion in institutional evaluation and planning.
But beyond the complexity of the accreditation process is a simple message for prospective students, Schnier said. The University is doing what it says it will do.
And what does the University say it will do? Take a look at the mission statement, which provides this overall philosophy, followed by eight bullet points about leveraging technology, providing practical skills and increasing convenience for working students.
“University of Phoenix provides access to higher education opportunities that enable students to develop knowledge and skills necessary to achieve their professional goals, improve the performance of their organizations, provide leadership and service to their communities.”
The University has been continually accredited by the HLC — and its predecessor —since 1978. The HLC is a regional accreditation agency that accredits degree-granting institutions in 19 states. It is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
On a programmatic level, the University also maintains programmatic accreditation for select programs in business (ACBSP), Nursing (CCNE), Counseling (CACREP) and Education (CAEP). Full info is available at the University’s website.
So, if you’re looking for an institution that can meet your needs as a working adult, the University of Phoenix can help. Not only that, but it has the accreditation to prove it.