The Angelicum Great Books Program (for grades 9th and up), consisting of 8 courses (8 semesters/4 years) has been recognized by the prestigious American Council on Education as a college-level program, and is also a part of the Ignatius-Angelicum Liberal Studies Program which includes Theology Online – 4 courses (4 semesters) taught by Fr. Joseph Fessio for 11th grade and up. The Ignatius-Angelicum Liberal Studies Program is recommended by the Cardinal Newman Society.
All Ignatius-Angelicum Liberal Studies Program courses are recommended for college credit by the American Council for Education (ACE CREDIT) and are accepted by Holy Apostles College and Seminary (see HACS accreditation below) and by numerous other colleges and universities. The American Council on Education is the major coordinating body for all the nation’s higher education institutions. To our knowledge, no other homeschool program has received such recognition. The ACE CREDIT College and University Network The numerous colleges and universities listed on the linked page (below), are those which actively support and connect the ACE credit recommendations by helping students use them in certificate or degree programs.The Joint Statement on the Transfer and Award of Credit by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and admissions Officers, the American Council on Education, and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
All HACS degree programs are accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC); Holy Apostles College and Seminary has been accredited since 1979 – almost four decades. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges is the oldest regional accrediting agency in the United States, evaluating more than 250 degree-granting colleges, universities and other institutions in the six-state region. In 2016, Holy Apostles was re-accredited by NEASC for the maximum of 10 years. Accreditation means that HACS programs, operations, finances and objectives have undergone a thorough peer review and been found to meet or exceed the minimum standards set for academic institutions. All degrees offered by HACS online or on campus, from the A.A. in Religious Studies to the M.A.’s in theology, philosophy and pastoral studies are accredited.
The Angelicum Academy is officially recognized by the Church as a Catholic home school program. See official recognition letter HERE, pursuant to the Code of Canon Law, Canon 803 § 1.
1. What is accreditation? Few can agree on one meaning – hence the plethora of accrediting bodies and standards. The dictionary defines it as: “The granting of approval to an institution of learning by an official review board after the school has met specific requirements.” In the United States, accreditation is an entirely voluntary process, done by private, nongovernmental agencies, so the term official becomes problematic at the outset. As a result of this lack of central control or authority, there have evolved good accrediting agencies and bad ones, recognized ones and unrecognized ones. One accrediting organization is not legally designated as being superior over another. Consequently, the acceptance of diplomas, transcripts, and transfer credits for students who are home schooled or enrolled in a particular program are according to the requirements of the receiving institution.
2. What does accreditation have to do with education and learning? Nothing directly. Accreditation has to do with which school one attends, not with the student or what the individual student has learned. Ironically, some of the worst public schools and private schools are accredited, as are some of the worst colleges. Some of the finest are not – finding insufficient reason to seek accreditation. Their good reputations precede them.
3. What then, is the purpose of accreditation? Accreditation has one main function: to weed out “diploma mills” and other assorted educational scams – that is, most accrediting bodies have it as one of their stated purposes to “assure quality education,” in some manner, and to try to give parents, students, other schools or the government some assurance the educational institution being reviewed is legitimate and meets some, usually minimal, standards. How that is done or attempted widely varies, as do the standards used and the quality of the private accrediting bodies themselves. Parents and students sometimes use accreditation as one means of determining if they wish to attend a certain school or educational program about which they know little. Schools and colleges sometimes consider accreditation as a factor in accepting transfer of credits earned at other colleges and universities. The US Department of Education considers accreditation as one factor in allowing Pell Grants and other forms of student loans to be used at colleges or universities.
4. What usefulness does accreditation have for an elementary or high school level homeschool program? The answer to this question, in our opinion, ranges from nothing to practically nothing. When accreditation is sought below the college level, the primary reason is, generally, simply to provide parents with some comfort level that the program is legitimate (i.e., of at least some minimal quality) – not a scam of some sort. Some parents consider accreditation important due to confusion and misinformation about accreditation at the elementary and secondary level of education, which we hope these FAQs will help dispel. Predictably, some schools that do seek and obtain accreditation at the elementary or secondary level tend to tout that fact for marketing purposes by exaggerating its utility at that level. To be fair, some schools, and even some accrediting bodies, quite accurately state that the utility of accreditation at the elementary/high school level is simply a comfort factor for parents – assurance by a 3rd party the program or school is neither a scam nor a diploma mill, and meets some minimal standards. If a parent or student has a real concern whether the homeschool program they are considering is legitimate or merely a diploma mill or scam, they really need to investigate the program more (such as read up on it on its website, talk to others using the program, etc.). There are no federally recognized accreditation associations specifically for elementary and secondary schools (that includes the six regional accrediting associations, which are so recognized at the college level only). Good accrediting bodies (i.e., those making a serious attempt to determine which schools or programs they review are good or bad