CENTRAL STATES CONSORTIUM OF COLLEGES & SCHOOLS
The Central States Consortium of Colleges & Schools (CSCCS) is an affiliate branch of the American Institute of Healthcare Professionals, Inc. Its purpose is to create, publish, and provide for comprehensive standards for the accreditation of bona fide institutions providing a non-traditional approach to secondary education. The CSCCS is dedicated to the process of institutional accreditation and works with candidate organizations to fulfill the requirements of the standards for accreditation. Standards have been developed, based on extensive research and current trends related to non-traditional educational institutions. An advisory board of professionals oversees the process of development and accreditation review of candidate institutions.
The CSCCS is not an accrediting agency approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Such approval is a voluntary process, and in fact, the U.S. Department of Education states that accreditation itself is a voluntary process. There is no mandate by law for a School, College or University to be accredited.
Many very good schools are not accredited. Also, each accreditor has their own unique standards and thus there is no national consistency in institutional accreditation. Again, accreditation is strictly a voluntary option in the United States and many high quality, legitimate and legal College and Universities and other institutions of secondary education operate today without accreditation. You can access the website of the U.S. Department of Education by clicking here.
¨ To provide a bona fide accreditation of higher education institutions that are committed to offering innovative and non-traditional curriculums and programs, including distance education, and online learning.
¨ To develop standards that guide petitioning institutions in meeting comprehensive standards that are applicable to innovative, non-traditional curriculums and programs.
¨ To establish the standards for evaluation that insure comprehensive education programs and consumer protection of accredited affiliates.
¨ To convene a board of professionals who have education/experience in academia, as well as in specific specialties that are multi dimensional and provide for consistency and appropriateness in the accreditation process.
¨ To offer education and consultation for petitioning institutions who are seeking a bona fide accreditation.
¨ To uphold the developed and agreed upon standards for accreditation.
¨ To disseminate information to prospective students considering an accredited institution of the Association.
¨ To provide for a safe degree of consumer protection for students enrolled in an accredited institution of the Association.
¨ To provide a means to re-evaluate standards, and revise standards on an ongoing basis to insure the overall mission of the Association.
The CSCCS has developed standards that provide for a comprehensive review of a school or institutions structure, processes, and outcomes, related to the overall curriculums as well as the administration of the institutions. Accreditation standards are provided for in all of the following major categories:
¨ The Institution- Structure and Process
¨ Learning Outcomes Assessment
¨ Undergraduate Programs
¨ Graduate Programs
¨ Record Keeping
¨ Credits- Transfers and Acceptance
¨ Tuition Refunds
¨ Financial Viability
¨ Dispute Resolution
¨ New Programs and Curriculums
Each of these categories provides for a comprehensive set of standards by which institutions may be evaluated against. All of the defined standards must be met in order for an institution to be considered for accreditation by the CSCCS. Accreditation is for a five year period, after which, institutions may elect to have a re-accreditation review completed.
1. Will "employers" accept degrees which are accredited by an accreditor not recognized the U.S. Department of Education.?
Response: Each employer has its prerogative as to what types of educational credentials it will or will not accept for each particular job or position. Employers have a right to define qualifications for jobs. There is no simple, straight-forward answer to this question. If there is a concern as to whether a current employer will accept or not accept such degrees, the student or prospective student should approach the employer about this issue or concern. It has been well documented by hundreds of non-accredited institutions, that many employers are concerned with learning that has occurred, rather than whether the particular school was accredited by an accreditor approved by the U.S. Department of Education. It is well known that many professionals have attained high level positions within organizations, including faculty positions in Colleges and Universities while having achieved a degree or degrees from non-accredited schools and colleges.Many schools which are not accredited by an accreditor approved by the U.S. Department of Education, have consistently published lists of many employers across the country who have accepted such degrees, paid for such degrees, and have promoted graduates.
2. If a school or college that I attend is accredited by the CSCCS, is my degree considered "legal"?
Response: The CSCCS only confers accreditation upon schools and colleges which are legal entities in the continental United States. Accreditation is not considered for any institution that might be operating outside of legal standards. The CSCCS will never accept an application for institutional evaluation of a school that is a "diploma mill." A Diploma Mill is a school that basically "sells" degrees to consumers without completing any type of program of instruction, verification of learning, etc. These diploma mills are real "scams" and many have been shut down across the country. Also, many new diploma mills apprear all the time. Prospective students are encouraged to investigate any school well, as a credential from a "diploma mill" is generally considered "useless" and without value or legitimacy.
3. Does an "accredited" degree guarantee that I will have a great learning experience in my program?
Response: No. Accreditation does not guarantee learning. Learning is an individual experience and the outcomes of the process are varied and individual. CSCCS accreditation does not guarantee a particular level of learning. Rather, CSCCS provides accreditation to those institutions that have proven they meet complete compliance to the standards for offering a well structured, bona fide, and program of education, which meets its stated objectives.
4. My state requires that I pass an exam and obtain a state license to practice my desired profession. Will a degree that is accredited by an accreditor that does not have approval by the U.S. Department of Education, be acceptable as meeting the requirements for licensing or taking a licensing examination?
Response: This question can only be answered individually by the States themselves. Some State licensing boards do accept a degree that is not recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as meeting the requirements for licensure or admittance to licensing examinations; and other States do not. It is up to each individual student or prospective student to contact their own state's licensing board and ascertain that information before selecting a particular school or education program.
5. If I graduate with a degree that is not accredited by an accreditor recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, is my degree of "less" value or is it considered "substandard?"
Response: First, the U.S. Department of Education does NOT require accreditation of schools & colleges. The government has always made it clear that "accreditation" is a voluntary process, and is NOT mandated within the United States. Many well established, high quality schools and colleges are NOT accredited. The CSCCS believes that it provides a solid, quality-based composite of comprehensive standards by which schools or colleges can be evaluated against. While the accreditation is NOT approved by the U.S. Department of Education, the CSCCS believes that its standards are clear, concise, provide for consumer protection, and provide for the offering of bona fide curriculums, processes and structure for students of our accredited members to receive a good, comprehensive education. By virtue of meeting our comprehensive standards, we believe our member schools and colleges offer degrees that provide students with a comprehensive and well rounded education, and that the educational environment provides for good comprehensive learning to take place.
Each individual has their own unique opinions when it comes to perceptions of the value of a particular education experience or program of instruction. This is true, regardless of the accreditation status of a school or college. Individuals are entitled to their own opinions. Although an individual opinion does NOT provide a consensus of the whole.
One way to ascertain potential "value" and recognition is to seek from schools & colleges information regarding their assessments of students satisfaction with the learning process and the outcomes of learning, the acceptance of graduates with non-accredited degrees, and the types of positions that graduates have achieved following their educational programs. Also, acceptance of a program is often conferred by the fact of employer tuition assistance for employees.
A guarantee of success in one's chosen field of knowledge and study, is not a given, because of graduation from a certain program. One's success is rooted in much more than just the program of education they completed. Degree of success is not easily predicted, regardless of which program a person attended.
6. As a consumer investigating programs of education, can I obtain a copy of the standards that are used by the CSCCS to accredit institutions of secondary education?
Response: Yes. The CSCCS makes standards available for those
interested in purchasing them. To receive a copy of the current standards for
accreditation of Schools & Colleges, you should send a letter of request,
along with a check or money order for $ 20.00 ( payable to AIHCP) to:
Central States Consortium of Colleges & Schools
1477 Tripodi Circle
Niles, Ohio 44446
Email the CSCCS
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