I am an overseas based student enrolled in the Associate in Electronics Technology with PF College and find the Penn Foster Career School web page notice on Regional Accreditation intriguing. I know this Regional and National Accreditation issue has been gone over time and time again in previous forums but if Penn Foster acknowledges that Regional accreditation is more widely accepted by both employers and other learning institutes then why does Penn Foster College also not pursue this accreditation as the Career school has done? I'm sure this would be a major draw card for more prospective students to choose Penn Foster College .
Both regional & national accreditation is recognized by the US Dept. of Education and one is not necessarily better than the other. Regionally accredited credits are more likely to be accepted by other regionally accredited colleges or universities but it is not guaranteed. It remains with each institution to establish its own policies based on the determination that the credits accepted meet educational objectives comparable to their own programs. The requirements for regional accreditation for a university or college are different than those for our career & high school. One of our biggest challenges is a lack of a physical campus. Maintaining a campus is a huge cost and because we don't have a brick and mortar campus we can offer affordable degrees to our students. Schools also apply for national accreditation when their model of instruction or their course content is different from most "traditional" degree programs. Regional accrediting agencies may not be able to compare our school with a traditional semester based college, because the modes of study are so dissimilar. We designed our programs to be flexible for busy folks, parents and workers to allow them to study at their own pace.
There's a mistaken belief that regional accreditation is better than national accreditation. Yet regional accreditation was never intended for online programs. Rather it was intended for traditional campus based education.
Because a regionally accredited college or university offers an online program does not necessarily mean they know about online education. In fact, many of them have jumped onboard the online band wagon, because of its popularity and profitability.
By comparison, the only accreditor in the U.S. that specializes in online education and that is also recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a specialist in that area is the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). No other accrediting agency can claim that status. On that basis, the DETC is an authority on online learning and their standards are geared specifically to that format.
Both “Penn Foster Career School” and “Penn Foster College” are accredited by the DETC, which is one of the reasons why their programs are of high quality. For Penn Foster College to pursue regional accreditation would be like going backwards.
The issue regarding credit transfer has more to do with how old the credit is. Many schools will not accept credit that is ten years or older, since it would be construed as dated. What areas of study the credits are in is another determinate factor for credit transfer.
My view is that DETC accreditation is the standard for all online programs. I also view Penn Foster as one of the leaders in online education.