On Friday, July 28, Calbright was granted accreditation by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), an accrediting agency recognized by the US Department of Education. What does this mean for Calbright, and for Calbright students?
The first thing, according to Tamika Connor, Calbright’s senior vice president for strategic initiatives, is that this achievement is a clear sign to both students and their potential employers that Calbright is a high quality, accountable institution – one that has been independently reviewed and approved.
“It shows we are trustworthy,” said Connor, who led Calbright through the three-year process of applying for and receiving accreditation. The state legislature required Calbright to be accredited by April of 2025, and the College worked to achieve the milestone ahead of schedule because “we wanted to provide our students with the validity of an accredited program as early as possible, which helps both their confidence and their career advancement. Everyone can see that the quality of our programs, and our institution, has been verified.”
That matters to students, according to Jeremy Cox, who’s studying IT Support and is president of Calbright’s student body organization.
“This adds a heightened sense of relevance to the Calbright College experience,” Cox said. “The accreditation status ensures that students are receiving a quality education. At the same time, it helps students gain access to resources that are only available to people who are in an accredited college environment.”
Over time, accreditation will change a few operational items around the College and allow Calbright to offer students new kinds of support.
Accreditation And Time Equals More Support
Some of those changes will be cosmetic but symbolically important – Calbright will transition to a “.edu” web and email address, for example. “Students are excited about this,” Cox confirmed.
Other changes will potentially open significant new opportunities for students.
While it will take several years to plan for and operationalize, Calbright anticipates offering courses for credit, which can then transfer to other institutions. This will make it significantly easier for Calbright students to continue their education: the work they do at Calbright will count towards their future degrees. Similarly, and also around the end of 2025, Calbright anticipates being able to accept credits from other institutions, allowing future students who have taken relevant courses or received degrees to accelerate through Calbright’s programs.
Many state, federal, and private companies also provide resources for continuing education at accredited institutions. Calbright students may soon be eligible for such support.
Calbright will also use its accreditation status to explore newly available opportunities for grant funding and other revenue sources.
Never Stop Improving
Accreditation is an ongoing process, rather than a single achievement. Calbright’s initial accreditation period is for three years, and the College will apply for renewal in 2026. During that time, Calbright will evaluate and update a number of its processes, from program reviews to its Strategic Operational Plan, to ensure all components of the College’s operations continue to advance its mission and complement accreditation standards.
“This isn’t an achievement we rest on,” Connor said. “It’s another step in a process of continuous improvement.”