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American Accreditation Agencies to Influence the World

Accreditation agencies in the United States are assessing international higher education institutions that are not currently linked with American institutions or students.

Those who agree with the expansion of U.S. accreditation into foreign countries say that the agencies have an opportunity to help institutions worldwide by improving the quality of education and increasing the mobility of students and faculty.

On the other hand, the opposing side says branching out into international markets could be a dangerous journey for U.S. accreditors if not carried out with caution. In any case, there is demand among international post-secondary institutions to bring in American accreditation standards.

“It’s ironic that as much as accreditation is attacked here at home, it’s still seen as the gold standard abroad,” Kevin Kinser, associate professor at the University of New York at Albany, told Inside Higher Ed.

Kinser said America’s higher education system may become more competitive if U.S. accreditors started to rate and rank international universities to the same standards.

“If the U.S. accreditation regime is not active internationally, then the British and the Australians will be,” Kinser told Inside Higher Ed. “I think that helps move us along a path where we can think about education in an equivalent way across multiple contexts.”