Distance Education Accrediting Commission

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The Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), formerly known as the National Home Study Council and then as the Distance Education and Training Council, is a non-profit national educational accreditation agency in the United States specializing in the accreditation of distance education institutions.


The DEAC was established in 1926 as the National Home Study Council (NHSC), a trade association for correspondence schools.[1][2] Its formation was in response to a Carnegie Corporation study that found a lack of standards to ensure quality in correspondence schools and protect their students and the public from fraud.[1] Under its first director, John Noffsinger, the NHSC developed a list of minimum standards for proprietary schools. The NHSC adopted the name Distance Education and Training Council in 1994 and its current name in 2014.[1][3]


In 1959 the NHSC was formally recognized by the U.S. Office of Education as an accreditor of higher education institutions. Currently the DEAC is recognized by Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the United States Department of Education as an accreditor of institutions of higher education. According to the DEAC, it is made up of over 100 distance education institutions located in 21 states and 7 countries. These institutions include non-profit institutions, trade associations, for-profit companies, colleges and universities, and military organizations.[4] The DEAC has strict criteria for approving schools for accreditation, and the process includes examining the schools' educational, ethical, and business practices.[5]

Comparison with regional accreditation[edit]

DEAC is a national accreditor, which is different from a regional accreditor. Some regionally accredited schools accept and recognize the accreditations of nationally accredited schools (like those accredited by the DEAC), but many do not.[6][7] Dr. Leah Matthews, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of DEAC, attributes this in part, to constant changes in the education landscape. “Distance education institutions are uniquely positioned to meet the changing demands for enhanced technologies and higher education program delivery. Some view this as a threat to the traditional higher education model as opposed to a strategic opportunity. More than ever before, technology-enhanced learning has the potential to transform higher education accessibility and raise the level of education attained globally.”[8]

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) offered an opinion in a November 2000 statement that, "Institutions and accreditors need to assure that transfer decisions are not made solely on the source of accreditation of a sending program or institution."[9] The Higher Education Transfer Alliance (HETA) online directory[10] was designed by DEAC to help students and the public find educational institutions with transfer practices consistent with criteria articulated by CHEA in its Statement to the Community: Transfer and Public Interest.[11] According to CHEA, institutions that are members of HETA have agreed that their "transfer decisions are not made solely on the basis of the accredited status of a sending institution and that the institution has agreed at least to consider transfer requests from other institutions."[10] The HETA directory provides links to member institutions so that students and others can review a specific institution's transfer policies and practice.

U.S. military accreditation[edit]

The DEAC provides accreditation for three branches of the United States military. The Marine Corps Institute and the Army Institute for Professional Development (ATIC-SDL) are listed as degree-granting institutions with the DEAC.[12]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]