Study in the USA – is your school of choice accredited?

The EducationUSA Center at the United States Embassy in Burkina Faso is part of a worldwide network of facilities promoting U.S. higher education abroad and facilitating international student mobility to the USA. This network is committed to working with the full array of institutions, organizations, and individuals that advance opportunities for qualified international students to study at U.S. higher education institutions (HEI).  Supported by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State, EducationUSA Centers and their advisors seek to foster mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other countries by providing millions of international students with accurate, comprehensive, and current information about how to apply to U.S. colleges and universities.

Your EducationUSA Center in Ouagadougou would like to remind students and their parents that not all institutions of higher education that use the words “American’’ or “United States” are accredited institutions.

In order to ensure a basic level of quality, the practice of accreditation arose in the United States as a means of conducting nongovernmental, peer evaluation of educational institutions and programs. Private educational associations of regional or national scope have adopted criteria reflecting the qualities of a sound educational program.  They also have procedures for evaluating institutions or programs to determine whether they are operating at basic levels of quality.

Some Functions of Accreditation

  1. Verifying that an institution or program meets established standards;
  2. Assisting prospective students in identifying acceptable institutions;
  3. Assisting institutions in determining the acceptability of transfer credits;
  4. Helping to identify institutions and programs for the investment of public and private funds;
  5. Protecting an institution against harmful internal and external pressure;
  6. Creating goals for self-improvement of weaker programs and stimulating a general raising of standards among educational institutions;
  7. Involving the faculty and staff comprehensively in institutional evaluation and planning;
  8. Establishing criteria for professional certification and licensure and for upgrading courses offering such preparation; and
  9. Providing one of several considerations used as a basis for determining eligibility for Federal assistance.

How can I verify Accreditation?

The following websites can help you check the name of an HEI you are considering against a database of ACCREDITED institutions in the USA.  Go to either of these sites and type in the name of the school you wish to verify.

U.S. Department of Education Database of Accredited Post secondary Institutions

Council for Higher Education Accreditation

For Burkinabe, you may also check the accreditation of any American HEI by contacting the U.S. Embassy EducationUSA Center. The Center offers general information sessions the FIRST and FOURTH WEDNESDAYS of every month at the American Center (library) beginning at 13:00.  You must register before attending.  After attending a general information session, a personal advising session may be scheduled.  These take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 13:00 and 16:00 by appointment only.

EducationUSA Center contact information:

Phone: +226 2549 5579