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National vs regional accreditation school?

2019boston2019boston 21 replies30 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
We were looking at both for DS for electrical engineering. An engineered graduate told me only look at national. You always want national? My son's SAT are a little lower and some regional schools he would get in without issue but was wondering the thought behind this. This is all new to me and really don't want to mess it up for DS. I thought the main thing was ABET accreditation to make sure of.
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Replies to: National vs regional accreditation school?

  • eyemgheyemgh 5590 replies122 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I would question that dogma. Whether a program is regional or national is fairly arbitrary, defined by US News. Take WPI for example. It recently changed from regional to national. Materially nothing changed about the institution. Cal Poly is a very respected engineering program. It's classified as regional. Largely what bumps a school into regional is lack of doctoral programs. For undergraduates that isn't such a bad thing. The trade for lacking high level research is typically smaller classes with labs and discussion sections taught by instructors with terminal degrees. Fit, affordability, and whether or not he gets in all far outweigh the randomness of that distinction.
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  • boneh3adboneh3ad 7464 replies130 threadsForum Champion Engineering Forum Champion
    Wait, are we talking accreditation or US News category here? I am confused now.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78229 replies690 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Regarding accreditation:

    A. There is accreditation for the entire school. In the US, regional accreditation is the "best" accreditation that a bachelor's degree granting school can have. The standards are not that high, though, since some commonly-looked-down-upon for-profit schools do have regional accreditation. But lack of regional accreditation should be a cause for concern at a bachelor's degree granting school.

    B. There is major or program specific accreditation. This is the type of accreditation that ABET can grant for specific engineering majors at a school (also engineering technology, computing, and some other majors). Note that a new engineering program cannot complete the ABET accreditation process until some students have graduated from it (though ABET accreditation, if granted, in this case will be retroactive to those students). ABET accreditation for engineering programs is often specifically a criterion for the PE licensing (most common in civil engineering) and the patent exam. Otherwise, it functions as a marker of meeting a high minimum standard of quality. A few schools with top-end reputations for their engineering programs forego ABET accreditation for some programs (but maintain it for civil engineering if they offer that major). You can check ABET accreditation status at http://main.abet.org/aps/Accreditedprogramsearch.aspx , although it does not list new programs undergoing the accreditation process.

    In terms of whether a school has a national versus regional reputation, that is independent of what accreditation it has for both the entire school and for its engineering majors.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7259 replies56 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I believe all the schools that you have mentioned in other threads are ABET accredited.
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  • eyemgheyemgh 5590 replies122 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I believe the OP is unintentionally conflating two terms. They used the term accredited in the title, but then qualified that they assumed ABET accreditation was all that mattered. My read is that the question is regional vs. national. To my knowledge, that distinction is a USNWR contrivance.

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  • MADadMADad 1993 replies81 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    For example, New England high schools and colleges are regionally accredited by NEASC (New England Association of Schools and Colleges). As mentioned by others, engineering programs specifically are accredited by ABET, which is a national program. There are other regional accrediting agencies like NEASC that cover other regions of the country.
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  • colorado_momcolorado_mom 8963 replies79 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I'm an engineer (from Clarkson), and back in my college hunt (1980) I knew nothing of ABET - I just knew that Dad knew a lot of great engineers that had attended Clarkson. But in recent years through these Engineering threads I've learned more. It seems like ABET (for undergrad) is the important thing.
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  • eyemgheyemgh 5590 replies122 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Again, based on the read of the OPs original post, I don't believe we are talking about accreditation per se. Rather, whether a school is deemed a "regional" or a "national" school. Only the OP can clarify.
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  • LakemomLakemom 2943 replies68 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    And for those of you who are considering a program that is not currently ABET accredited but plans to become so

    "ABET policy limits retroactive accreditation to a maximum of two years."
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  • MAandMEmomMAandMEmom 1636 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Just a quick New England correction, NEASC is now known as NECHE at least for colleges and universities.



    Regional accrediting boards and the decennial visit (hopefully not less although often a five year report is now nearly a necessity) ensure that institutions meet the standards established by that regional accreditor. Probation and removal of accreditation is a near death sentence, especially these days and in NE. I would never ever ever suggest a student consider attending a non accredited institution.

    Other accreditations are discipline-specific such as ABET for engineering (and more recently CS related), AASCB for business, and many in the health sciences areas. Some are optional and others you might as well close the program without it.

    Rankings like USNWR are just that and we all know how some colleges have worked the system in their favor.
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