The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) will serve students and their families, colleges and universities, sponsoring bodies, governments and employers by promoting academic quality through formal recognition of higher education accrediting bodies and will coordinate and work to advance self-regulation through accreditation.

A national advocate and institutional voice for self-regulation of academic quality through accreditation, CHEA is an association of degree-granting colleges and universities and recognizes institutional and programmatic accrediting organizations.
                     

This Almanac provides an overview of the external quality review process in the United States with a particular focus on accreditation – its practice, structure and organizations, and its role in the self-regulation of higher education. By making information about quality review more widely available, the Almanac also seeks to contribute to ongoing discussions among policymakers, members of the public and educators about quality in higher education.

The goals of the Almanac are to:

  • Provide information about the major participants involved in external quality review, thereby offering readers from within as well as outside the higher education community a single sourcebook on how institutions and programs are reviewed for quality;
  • Promote understanding of external quality review by documenting the range and capacities of existing review procedures and by describing their relative roles in quality assurance and improvement;
  • Encourage information sharing among the various participants in quality review in order to reduce the duplication of reporting efforts and to minimize the administrative and record-keeping requirements for higher education institutions and programs; and
  • Develop a research database on quality review procedures in higher education.

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation surveyed accrediting organizations in the fall of 2018. Accrediting organizations were asked to provide information for the 2016-2017 year. Unless otherwise noted, numbers have been reported by seven regional accrediting organizations, four national faith-related accrediting organizations, seven national career-related accrediting organizations and 70 programmatic accrediting organizations.