The Distance Education Training Council (DETC) has been accrediting correspondence schools since 1955. Today, hundreds of distance learning colleges and high schools have been granted accreditation from the DETC. Many graduates from DETC accredited schools have used their degrees to gain promotions or to continue in their studies. But, others have been disappointed to find that their degrees do not hold the same weight as diplomas from regionally accredited schools. If you're considering enrolling in a school with DETC accreditaion, make sure you get the facts first. Here's what you need to know:
The Good – Approved by the CHEA and USDE
Both the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the United States Department of Education recognize the DETC as a legitimate accrediting agency. The DETC has proved itself to have high standards and a thorough review process. You won't find any diploma mills here.
The Bad – Trouble Transferring
The biggest problem with DETC accreditation is that regionally accredited schools don't view it as their equal. While credits from regionally accredited schools may transfer to other regionally accredited schools easily, credits from DETC accredited schools are often looked upon with suspicion. Even some schools with DETC accreditation view transcripts from regionally accredited schools as superior.
The Ugly – A Battle with Regionally Accredited Schools
If you're planning on transferring schools or pursuing additional study, be aware that each school has its own transfer policy. Some schools may accept your DETC credits unconditionally. Some may not give you full credit. Some may reject your transcript completely.
A study conducted by the DETC showed that, of the students who attempted to transfer credits to a regionally accredited school, two-thirds were accepted and one-third were rejected. The DETC blames the rejected credits in part on anti-competitive business practices in higher education. Whatever the case, be aware that rejection is very possible.
A Solution – Plan Ahead
If you want to make sure that your transcript from a DETC accredited school will be accepted when you transfer, make a list of potential transfer schools. Call each one and ask for a copy of their transfer policy.
Another good strategy is to check out the Higher Education Transfer Alliance database (off-site link). Schools in this alliance have agreed to be open to schools with any type of accreditation that is approved by the CHEA or USDE – including the Distance Education Training Council.