The Standards for Accreditation are an articulation by the higher education community of what a college or university must do in order to deserve the public trust. They also function as a framework for institutional development and self-evaluation. The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) (a non-governmental organization) both recognize reputable accrediting bodies for institutions of higher education and provide guidelines as well as resources and relevant data regarding these accreditors. Neither the U.S. Department of Education nor CHEA accredit individual institutions. In 2013, President Barack Obama proposed changes in the accreditation system to hold “colleges accountable for cost, value, and quality”. He requested Congress change the Higher Education Act so that affordability and value are considered in determining which institutions are accredited and allow students access to federal financial aid. Only institutions and programs accredited by an US federally recognized accreditor can provide students with access to US federal student aid, including Pell Grants and student loans
The goal of accreditation in US is to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality.