Schools in danger of losing their accreditation, but what does that mean?

Published: Mar. 1, 2017 at 12:25 PM EST
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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

(WRDW/WAGT) -- Five area South Carolina schools are in danger of being stripped of their accreditation, and one specialty school in McCormick County lost their accreditation.

Many of you were wondering what it means when a school or school district loses their accreditation and what happens next. Accreditation focuses on how well or how poorly a school meets up to various standards and goals. The standards and goals are usually set by the state, an independent accrediting agency like AdvancED or both.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, accreditation ensures that schools, postsecondary institutions, and other education providers meet and maintain minimum standards of quality and integrity regarding academics, administration, and related services.

So what happens when a school loses their accreditation?

When a school loses their accreditation, they will lose out on federal and state funding. In addition, a college or university may not recognize a diploma or credits from an unaccredited high school.

Students could be denied admission to colleges and universities and/or may be required to take remedial courses to make sure they are on track. Students of these schools will also be ineligible for scholarships when preparing for college.

It’s important to remember that it is not illegal for a school to operate without accreditation, however, so the school may continue to operate as normally.

If a school or school district loses accreditation in South Carolina, they are not allowed to issue diplomas the following year. They also will be unable to receive state aid until they’ve submitted an acceptable improvement plan.

According to Pew Research Center, a state is unlikely to take over a school district or school that loses accreditation.