The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools is a peer-based, non-profit association made up of volunteers. Is is one of six regional higher education accreditors in the US that is recognized by the United States Department of Education (DOE) and Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The purpose of the association is to provide peer evaluation and accreditation for schools and colleges located in the Mid-Atlantic United States.The Middle States Association is responsible for accrediting education institutions in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. It also works to provided accreditation for schools outside the United States located in the Near East, Far East, Africa, Europe, Canada and Chile.
Sometimes people confuse the Middle States Assocation with the “Middle States Accrediting Board” (MSAB) but they are two very different organizations. The MSAB is not recognized by the DOE or cHEA. Diploma mills often cite the MSAB as their accrediting agency to legitimize their educational offerings.
The Middle States Association is composed of three individual accrediting commissions with include the Commission on Elementary Schools, the Commission on Seconary Schools and finally the Commission on Higher Education (which accredits colleges and universities).
Middle States Commission on Higher Education
There is a special unit within the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools known as the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) whose primary responsibility is accrediting degree-granting colleges and universities. The MSCHE inspects and accredits each degree-granting institution as whole. It does not accredit specific programs.
As described by the MSCHE, the accreditation process for a college or university includes the following:
- Peer evaluation
- Information gathering and sharing
- Appropriate educational activities
Once each quarter (every three months), the MSCHE publishes a document that includes “actions on higher education” which include warnings, revocations or affirmations of accreditation.
While the MSCHE focuses on accrediting schools within the Middle States region, it also accredits several higher education institutions located outside of the United States.
To learn more about the Middle States Commission on Higher Education you can visit their websites at www.msche.org. To review a current list of all higher education institutions accredited by the MSCHE visit http://www.msche.org/institutions_directory.asp