Accrediting agencies come in two sizes, the large regional associations that determine academic standards throughout the United States such as the Western Association of Schools and Colleges or North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and smaller specialized agencies that determine specific criteria for academic programs such as Accrediting Bureau of Engineering Technology (ABET) or American Psychological Association (APA). On the surface, both types of accreditation are voluntary. However, essentials in the world of academia, such as government, state and local funding, are dependent on, at a minimum, regional accreditation. Thus, regional accreditation is sought by all. In the current world of tight funding, however, the role of specialized accreditation is taking on significance even though it plays a different, but similar role.
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