List of unrecognized higher education accreditation organizations
This is a list of unrecognized higher education accreditation organizations, as identified by the organizations themselves, government authorities in their respective countries or other independent authorities. These are entities that are engaged in higher education accreditation or have been identified as being accreditors, but that lack appropriate recognition or authorization.
Prerequisites and rules for higher education accreditation vary from country to country. In most countries, the function of quality assurance for higher education institutions is conducted by a government ministry of education. In the United States, educational accreditation is performed primarily by private nonprofit membership associations, the legitimacy of which is validated through recognition by the United States Department of Education (USDE), the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or both. USDE and CHEA recognize many of the accrediting organizations, but not all. Accreditors seek USDE or CHEA recognition for different reasons: USDE recognition is required for accreditors whose institutions or programs seek eligibility for federal student aid funds. CHEA recognition confers an academic legitimacy on accrediting organizations, helping to solidify the place of these organizations and their institutions and programs in the national higher education community. Often a school claiming accreditation from an unrecognized accrediting body will not be viewed as legitimate in the academic community. Institutional accreditation is usually required by U.S. institutions to receive federal government funds. Also, students who attend institutions of higher education that are accredited through organizations not recognized by the USDE or CHEA do not qualify for U.S. government financial aid. Similarly, employers or graduate programs cannot be confident that graduates of an unaccredited institution or program will be appropriately prepared.
To assist consumers, several national and international bodies publish lists of recognized accreditation bodies and accredited educational institutions, as well as accreditors that are known to lack the necessary legal authority or recognition, and higher education providers known to lack accreditation. The United States organization CHEA maintains an international directory of education ministries and other recognized higher education quality assurance bodies worldwide. The 2007 version of that directory lists 467 recognized bodies in 175 countries.
Many, but not all, of the entities in the list below are considered to be fraudulent accreditation mills that were set up to help diploma mills lure students and whose "accreditation" has no legal or academic value. Some other listed entities are religious accreditation bodies, whose accreditation may have doctrinal significance but lacks recognized academic value. Also included are some organizations that do not offer educational accreditation but have been falsely identified as accrediting bodies by organizations that claim to have been accredited by them. A notable example of this last type is UNESCO. UNESCO has no authority to recognize or accredit higher education institutions or agencies. Nonetheless, because diploma mills have claimed false UNESCO accreditation, UNESCO itself has published warnings against education organizations that claim UNESCO recognition or affiliation.
- Academy for the Promotion of International Culture and Scientific Exchange (APICS)
- Accelerated Degree Programs
- Accreditation Association of Christian Colleges and Seminaries, Morgantown, Kentucky
- Accreditation Council for Distance Education
- Accreditation Council for Online Academia
- Accreditation Governing Commission of the United States of America
- Accreditation Panel for Online Colleges and Universities
- Accrediting Association of Christian Colleges and Seminaries, Sarasota, Florida
- Accrediting Commission for Specialized Colleges
- Accrediting Commission International (ACI) (formerly in Beebe, Arkansas, now in Sarasota, Florida) (aka International Accrediting Commission)
- Accrediting Commission International for Schools, Colleges, and Theological Seminaries (ACI) (in Beebe, Arkansas) (aka Accrediting Commission International)
- Accrediting Council for Colleges and Schools (ACCS)
- Adult Higher Education Alliance (AHEA) 
- Alternative Institution Accrediting Association (AIAA)
- American Accrediting Association of Theological Institutions (AATI) (in Rocky Mount, North Carolina)
- American Association for Higher Education and Accreditation (AAHEA) Based in Ocala, Florida, but uses the name and Washington, DC telephone number of another organization that is now defunct.
- American Association of Accredited Private Schools (AAPS) 
- American Association of Drugless Practitioners Commission on Accreditation (AADPCA)
- American Association of Independent Collegiate Schools of Business
- American Association of International Medical Graduates (AAIMG)
- American Association of Non-traditional Colleges and Universities (AANCU)
- American Association of Non-Traditional Private Postsecondary Education
- American Association of Schools (AAS)
- American Association of Universities and Colleges (AAUC)
- American Bureau of Higher Education (ABHE)
- American Council of Private Colleges and Universities (ACPCU) (connected to the operator of Hamilton University, now called Richardson University)
- American Council on Private School Accreditation (ACPSA)
- American Education Association for the Accreditation of Schools, Colleges & Universities
- American Federation of Colleges and Schools (AFCS)
- American Federation of Colleges and Seminaries(AmFed)(AFCS) or American Federation of Christian Colleges and Schools (in Lakeland, Florida)
- American Naturopathic Certification Board (ANCB)
- American Naturopathic Medical Accreditation Board (ANMAB)[not in citation given]
- American Naturopathic Medical Certification and Accreditation Board (ANMCAB or ANMAB)
- American Naturopathic Medicine Association (ANMA)
- American Psycotherapy Association
- American Universities Admission Program
- American University Accreditation Council (connected to the operator of the University of Northern Virginia)
- Arizona Commission of Non-Traditional Private Postsecondary Education
- Asia Theological Association (ATA)
- Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology (ACEP)
- Association for Distance Learning Programs (ADLP)(aka National Academy of Higher Education and Association of Distance Learning Programs)
- Association for Innovation in Distance Education
- Association for Online Academic Excellence (AOAE) (may be based in Wales)
- Association of Accredited Bible Schools
- Association of Accredited Private Schools
- Association of Career Training Schools
- Association of Christian Colleges and Theological Schools (in Louisiana or Virginia)
- Association of Distance Learning Programs (ADLP) (aka Association for Distance Learning and National Academy of Higher Education)
- Association of Independent Christian Colleges & Seminaries
- Association of International Education Assessors (includes Council for Distance Education Accreditation)
- Association of Reformed Theological Seminaries
- Board of Online Universities Accreditation (BOUA)
- British Learning Association (BLA)
- Central States Consortium of Colleges & Schools (CSCCS) (connected to the operator of Breyer State University)[not in citation given]
- Centre of Academic Excellence UK (CAEUK)
- Central States Council on Distance Education (CSCDE), (Washington, DC); alternatively named Central States Association Council on Distance Education
- Christian Accrediting Association (CAA)
- College for Professional Assessment
- Council for the Accreditation of Correspondence Schools
- Commission for the Accreditation of European Non-Traditional Universities
- Commission on Medical Denturitry Accreditation (COMDA)
- Commission on Online Higher Learning
- Council for Distance Education Accreditation (CDEA), (connected to Association of International Education Assessors)
- Council for International Education Accreditation (CIEA)
- Council on Postsecondary Alternative Education
- Council on Postsecondary Christian Education - According to John Bear's list of unrecognized accreditors, this organization was established by the operators of LaSalle University (Louisiana) and Kent College (Louisiana).
- Council on Medical Denturitry Education (COMDE)
- Distance Education Council (DEC) (connected to the operator of Saint Regis University) (not to be confused with the legitimate Distance Education Council recognized by the Indian Department of Education )
- Distance Education Council of America
- Distance Education and Training Council (UK, Cyprus) (www.detc.org.uk not to be confused with the legitimate www.detc.org)
- Distance Graduation Accrediting Association
- Distance Learning Council of Europe (DLCE) (connected to University Degree Program)
- Education Accrediting Association (in Idaho)
- Educational Accreditation Association (in Idaho)
- Education Commission for Integrative Health (ECIH)
- Education International, Post Falls, Idaho. Not to be confused with Education International, a global federation of unions.
- Education Quality Assurance Commission (EQAC)
- European Accreditation Board of Higher Education Schools (in France, Belgium, and UK)
- European Committee for Home and Online Education (ECHOE) (connected to University Degree Program)
- European Council for Distance and Open Learning (ECDOE) (connected to University Degree Program)
- Examining Board of Natural Medicine Practitioners (EBNMP)
- Expressive Psychology Association
- Higher Education Accreditation Commission (HEAC)
- Higher Education Services Association (HESA) (connected to University Consulting Inc. and University Degree Program)
- Hygienic Doctors Association (HDA)
- Integra Accreditation Association (IAA)
- Inter-Collegiate Joint Committee on Academic Standards (ICJCAS)
- Interfaith Education Ministries (IEM)
- International Academic Accrediting Commission (IAAC)
- International Accreditation Agency for Online Universities (IAAOU) (connected to operators of Ashwood University, Belford University, and Rochville University)
- International Accreditation Association (IAA)
- International Accreditation Organization (IAO) It is not recognised by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the United States Department of Education.
- International Accreditation for Universities, Colleges and Institutes (IAUCI)
- International Accreditation and Recognition Council (IARC)
- International Accrediting Association for Colleges and Universities (IAACU)
- International Accrediting Commission (IAC) (Kenosha, Wisconsin) (aka Accrediting Commission International)
- International Accrediting Commission for Schools, Colleges, and Theological Seminaries (IAC) (aka International Accrediting Commission)
- International Accrediting Commission for Postsecondary Institutions (IACPI)
- International Accrediting Commission for Postsecondary Education Institutions
- International Association for Distance Learning (IADL)
- International Association of Educators for World Peace
- International Association of Universities and Schools (IAUS) (not to be confused with the International Association of Universities (IAU))
- International Commission for Higher Education (ICHE)
- International Commission of Open Post Secondary Education (ICOPSE)
- International Commission on Distance Learning, founded in Zurich by Roldán Moré
- International Distance Education and Learning Council (IDETC) (not to be confused with the US-recognized Distance Education and Training Council (DETC))
- International Distance Learning Accrediting Association (IDLAA)
- International Education Ministry of Accreditation Association
- International Interfaith Accreditation Association[dead link] (IIAA) (Closing down operations at the end of May 2007)
- International (States) Parliament for Safety and Peace (IPSP or ISPSP), operating from Palermo, Italy
- International University Accrediting Association (IUAA) (in California)
- Middle States Accrediting Board (MSAB)
- Mid States Accrediting Agency
- Midwestern States Accreditation Agency (MSAA)
- National Academy of Higher Education (NAHE)
- National Academy of Higher Learning
- National Accreditation Association (NAA)
- National Accrediting Agency of Private Theological Institutions (NAAPTI). Grimesland, North Carolina.
- National Association for Private Post-Secondary Education (NAPSE)
- National Association for the Legal Support of Alternative Schools (NALSAS)
- National Association of Alternative Schools and Colleges (NAASC)
- National Association of Open Campus Colleges (NAOCC)
- National Association of Private Nontraditional Schools and Colleges (NAPNSC), (Grand Junction, Colorado)
- National Board of Education of Liberia
- National Commission on Higher Education (NCHE)
- National Council of Schools and Colleges (NCSC)
- National Distance Learning Accreditation Council (NDLAC) (Glendale University and Suffield University claim NDLAC accreditation)
- National Learning Online Council (NLOC)
- Naturopathic National Council (NNC)
- Non-traditional Course Accreditation Body (NTCAB)
- Northwest Regional Accrediting Agency
- Pacific Association of Schools and Colleges (PASC)
- Professional Board of Hypnotherapy 
- Southern Accrediting Association of Bible Institutes and Colleges (SAABIC)
- Southern Association of Accredited Colleges and Universities
- The Association for Online Distance Learning (TAODL)
- Transworld Accrediting Commission International (TWACI), Riverside, California, USA
- UNESCO (UNESCO states that they do not have the power to accredit any higher education institutions or agencies; as a consequence, institutions or agencies claiming to be recognized by Unesco should be looked upon with suspicion)
- United Congress of Colleges (UCC) (Ireland, UK)
- US-DETC—Nevada (not to be confused with the legitimate Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), based in Washington DC)
- United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA); states that it does not provide accreditation, but has been claimed as an accreditor by entities including Madison University
- Universal Council for Online Education Accreditation (UCOEA)
- Verity College (Illinois, Michigan)
- Virtual University Accrediting Association (VUAA)
- Virtual University Accrediting Association (in California) (VUAA)
- West European Accrediting Society (WEAS)
- Western Accrediting Agency
- Western Association of Private Alternative Schools (WAPAS)
- Western Council on Non-Traditional Private Post Secondary Education (WCNPPSE)
- World Association for Online Education (WAOE)
- World Association of Universities and Colleges (WAUC) (in Nevada; operated by Maxine Asher)
- World Conference of Associations of Theological Institutions
- World Council For Excellence in Higher Education (WCEHE)
- World Online Education Accrediting Commission (WOEAC)
- World-wide Accreditation Commission of Christian Educational Institutions (WACCEI)
- Worldwide Accrediting Commission
See also 
- Diploma mill
- List of recognized higher education accreditation organizations
- List of unaccredited institutions of higher learning
- An Overview of U.S. Accreditation, by Judith S. Eaton, CHEA. Archived August 4, 2007.
- Diploma mills provide phony credentials, By Helena Andrews, The Capital Times/Medill News Service, February 14, 2005
- Recognized Accrediting Organizations (as of August 2010), lists accreditation organizations recognized by CHEA and/or USDE (accessed October 9, 2010)
- "An Overview of U.S. Accreditation". p. 7.
- Important Questions about “Diploma Mills” and “Accreditation Mills”, Council for Higher Education Accreditation, Fact Sheet 6, May 2003. Retrieved October 17, 2010.
- "CHEA - Value of US Accreditation (FAQ)". p. 3. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
- Luca Lantero, Degree Mills: non-accredited and irregular higher education institutions, Information Centre on Academic Mobility and Equivalence (CIMEA), Italy. "On Unesco's website a warning has also been published regarding all institutions that claim to be recognized by them, but which are actually not. As Unesco make clear in their communiqué, they do not have the power to accredit any higher education institutions or agencies; as a consequence, institutions or agencies claiming to be recognized by Unesco has to be looked upon with suspicion."
- CHEA International Directory introduction, accessed November 21, 2010
- Accrediting Agencies Not Recognized Under GAAP (website recommended by U.S. Department of Education; both websites accessed October 21, 2007)
- UNESCO "Alert: Misuse of UNESCO Name by Bogus Institutions", UNESCO website, accessed 30 November 2011
- Bear, John; Bear, Mariah (2003-01-01). Bears' Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance. Ten Speed Press. p. 215. ISBN 1-58008-431-1. Retrieved 2009-04-16. "Claims accreditation from the International States Parliament for Safety and Peace; in the past has claimed accreditation from the Academy for the Promotion of International Culture and Scientific Exchange (APICS), an unrecognized agency."
- “Accrediting” entities not recognized by the State of Oregon, Oregon State Office of Degree Authorization (accessed March 17, 2009)
- Fiocchetti, C., Checcacci, C. & Lantero, L., "How to spot and counter diploma mills", Chapter 4 (November, 2010) Information Centre on Academic Mobility and Equivalence (CIMEA) 
- Ezell, Allen (2009), Recent Developments with Degree Mills: Accreditation Mills and Counterfeit Diploma and Transcript Operations, College and University 85(2):40-50. Accessed on website of MACRAO, the Michigan Association of Collegiate Registrars & Admissions Officers, October 19, 2010.
- Unrecognized and Fake Agencies for Online College Accreditation, GetEducated.com, retrieved January 24, 2012
- Bear, John, and Bear, Mariah P.: Bears' Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning. Ten Speed Press, 2003, pages 51-61. ISBN 1-58008-431-1
- "Colleges and Universities not Accredited by CHEA; Unapproved Accrediting Bodies". State of Michigan Civil Service Commission. Archived from the original on June 28, 2011. (list is no longer being maintained)
- Stephen Barrett, Be Wary of Nonrecognized Accreditation Agencies, dated November 20, 2008, Credential Watch website, accessed October 7, 2010
- Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board List of Fraudulent or Unrecognized Accreditors (archived February 17, 2007)
- Information concerning unaccredited universities
- Bears' Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning by John Bear, Mariah P. Bear (2003), page 61
- Thomas Bartlett, ""Inquiry Into Higher-Education Group Reveals Odd Connections," Chronicle of Higher Education, Monday, August 25, 2008
- States Struggle to Regulate Online Colleges That Lack Accreditation by Sarah Carr and Andrea L. Foster, The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 23, 2001
- Canyon College lists accreditation through the Nevada based ANMAB and the New York based ACPSA. "Canyon College Accreditation". Canyon College website. Archived from the original on October 9, 2012. Retrieved October 18, 2010..[not in citation given]
- Registrars’ Group Takes On Diploma Mills, Inside Higher Ed, February 10, 2006.
- The University of Northern Virginia, which claims accreditation from the American University Accreditation Council (formerly identified as the American Council of University Accreditation), states on its website that "AUAC is not recognized by the US Department of Education as an accrediting body and is a non-CHEA accreditation agency for the U.S. schools with international programs." (Accessed October 10, 2010)
- Tom Bartlett, Karin Fischer, and Josh Keller, Little-Known Colleges Exploit Visa Loopholes to Make Millions Off Foreign Students, The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 20, 2011. Identifies the organization as "not recognized by the Department of Education." "Drive to the address on the contact page and ... you'll find a bustling auto-body repair shop. That shop, it turns out, is owned by Gary Zhu, acting chairman of the board at UNVA."
- Associated Press, Cheyenne police chief defends distance-learning degree, April 23, 2005.
- Association for Innovation in Distance Education website (accessed July 20, 2008): "AIDE is not an accrediting agency approved/recognized by the U.S. Department of Education."
- "AICCS Disclaimer". Association of Independent Christian Colleges & Seminaries. Retrieved 30 January 2011. "Because of the AICCS Board of Directors' convictions in support of religious freedom, Christian liberty, and the separation of church and state, AICCS has never applied for affiliation with any federal government agency. AICCS, therefore, is not recognized by the United States Department of Education."
- Association of International Education Assessors and its affiliate, the Council for Distance Education Accreditation, are based in the United States (Murfreesboro, Tennessee), but their website states that the organization is "is not listed with any government agency or the U.S. Department of Education."
- Gene Trainor, Diploma mills keep churning out bogus degrees, Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, Texas), March 27, 2010
- Bear, John; Bear, Mariah P. (2003). Bears' Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning. Ten Speed Press. ISBN 1-58008-431-1.
- "Minutes, CHEA Board of Directors Meeting, January 22, 2001". CHEA. Archived from the original on June 18, 2006. "At its September 25, 2000 meeting, the board of directors accepted the committee on recognition's recommendation that the American Denturitry Association Council on Denturitry Education Commission on Denturitry Accreditation be deemed ineligible to be considered for CHEA recognition."
- "Recognitions", Educational Accreditation Association website, accessed September 26, 2009, indicates an intention to request recognition
- About Us, Accreditedu.org, accessed August 6, 2012. States "Education International is applying for recognition and/or listing with" several governments.
- Bogus university boasts web of institutes from Kenya to Malaysia, Independent.ie, November 13, 2005. The newspaper phoned the EQAC; the call was answered on a mobile phone in Spain by a respondent who could not answer the questions. The University of Aberdeen is listed on the EQAC website as an accredited institution, but a university spokesperson said: "We have never heard of that commission. They may have listed us on their website, but we certainly haven't gone through any formal process to gain accreditation."
- Marsha Forys, Children's counselor charged with fraud, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 26, 2005
- Although based in the United States (Helena, Montana), the Hygienic Doctors Association official website states (in an FAQ) as its response to the question "Is The H.D.A. recognized by the Department of Education?" that "Current laws in the United States of America prohibit the recognition of global accreditation of associations and organizations," indicating its acknowledgment that it lacks recognition.
- First-Degree Fraud Houston Press July 20, 2006
- Paul Fain (October 19, 2012). "Startup University's Phantom Faculty". Inside HigherEd. "International Accreditation Organization (IAO), [is] a self-described “secondary” accrediting body that seeks to “recognize and accredit education providers on an international scale,” according to its website. The Texas-based accreditor said its seal of approval is not to be claimed as a primary accreditation, which is how Cambridge Graduate is using it. [George] Gollin questioned relying on the accreditor in any capacity. He cited bogus degree providers on IAO’s list of accredited institutions, including one with ties to a known degree mill operator. ... Gollin notes that one of IAO’s fully accredited institutions is the University of Antarctica (motto: “Big Continent, Big Opportunities”), which the accreditor recently removed from its website. ... Accrediting the University of Antarctica should be a “one-strike-you’re-out disqualification,” Gollin said. And any institution that “describes its couplings with IAO as a positive attribute is not to be taken seriously.”"
- Arne J Almquist (2011). "Academic Libraries, Marketing, Accreditation, and Support". In Sharon G. Almquist. Distributed Learning and Virtual Librarianship. ABC-CLIO. p. 284. ISBN 978-1-59158-906-8.
- IARC website states that its recognition "does not guarantee any sort of acceptance by any particular country or government" and its February 2008 newsletter states that IARC "derives it’s authority from it’s membership rather than government or any one particular industry body". (Website accessed March 11, 2008; spelling and punctuation are those used in the source.)
- "" page on IADL website (accessed October 11, 2011) states: "We have no affiliation with any local, regional or national government body."
- Psst. Wanna Buy a Ph.D.? Chronicle for Higher Education by Thomas Bartlett and Scott Smallwood, June 25, 2004
- According to the recognition page of the Calamus International University , the IIAA is closing down operations at the end of May 2007.
- Ezell, Allen; Bear, John (2005). "Appendix E: Accreditation". Degree Mills: The Billion-dollar Industry That Has Sold Over A Million Fake Diplomas. Prometheus Books. ISBN 978-1-59102-238-1. "Here is a list of more than two hundred accrediting agencies that, as of late 2004, are not recognized by either CHEA or the US Department of Education. Inclusion on this list does not mean the accreditor is good or bad, real or fake, but only that it [is] not recognized by either of these two agencies. [...] Parlamento Mondiale per la Sicurazza e la Pace. Accreditor claimed by Senior University, Wyoming. It awards titles of nobility from an address in Palermo, Italy."
- "The Diploma Mafias - with a list of diploma factories worldwide". New Sabah (Iraq). Retrieved 2011-08-20. "Rutherford University, a diploma factory first based in Canada, escaped to the American state of Wyoming two years ago, after the Canadian government had taken action against companies selling fake university diplomas. But after Wyoming invoked its higher education laws, the university decided it was better to leave America altogether and it is now selling its diplomas from Swaziland. Its website says the university is “fully accredited” by something called the “International States Parliament” which is also a joke. Other institutes which look like daughters of Rutherford University even claim to be accredited by the “Supreme Council of the Presidency of the International States Parliament” which is three times nothing."
- "What is Accreditation". National Accrediting Agency of Private Theological Institutions website. Retrieved August 30, 2012. "National Accrediting Agency of Private Theological Institutions, in accordance with the inspired teaching of the Bible, has chosen not to seek endorsement from either the EAES or CHEA."
- National Association of Private Nontraditional Schools and Colleges website
- The higher education approval authority in Liberia is the National Commission on Higher Education, which reports that some fake universities diploma mills have disseminated fake documentation from Liberian authorities. Republic of Liberia National Commission on Higher Education, Urgent Disclaimer on the Illegal Establishment and Recognition of Higher Education Institutions in the Republic of Liberia (2004). Archived on March 3, 2008.
- Online Christ Centered Ministries describes its purposes solely as religious objectives. Listed purposes include facilitating evangelism, establishing accountability ("Maintain worthy, theological, ethical and evangelical standards among members") and recognition ("Recognize competent and credentialed ministries doing kingdom work on and off the internet"), and stimulating "solid, Christian education and the subsequent responsibility of teaching and evangelism." (See Our Purpose and Shepherd Bible College's Accreditation page.) On the OCCM website, member institutions are identified as "quality, exemplary, Christian ministries" (see Our Members). (Websites accessed August 26, 2007.)
- Approved Schools ::Professional Board of Hypnotherapy, Inc::
- "Investigating the bogus education scam". BBC. 7 January 2008.
- Saini, Angela (8 January 2008). "A degree of deception". The Guardian (London).
- Transworld Accrediting Commission International - Home Page
- GetEducated.com describes WAOE as a "real, esteemed professional agency for educators" that is not involved in accreditation and does not allow its name to be used as an accrediting agency. ( Print Unrecognized and Fake Agencies for Online College Accreditation, GetEducated.com, retrieved August 29, 2012)
- See World Conference of Associations of Theological Institutions website; WOCATI is an international consortium that includes accrediting organizations; it does not describe accreditation as one of its functions.
- The World-wide Accreditation Commission's website (accessed July 17, 2008) states: "The World Wide Accreditation Commission of Christian Educational Institution, in accordance with the Inspired teaching of the Bible, has chosen not to seek endorsement with either the EAES or CHEA."