On Mar 20, 2012, at 9:28 AM, Robert Gervais wrote:

I got a request from a former student who is now in the military, about a couple of online Universities; South University and University of Maryland University College.  He wanted to know how he could be sure these were accredited colleges, and if there were some way of finding out if the degree earned through them would be "legit" (his hopeful career path is IT).

They, and most schools are "accredited," but that begs the question of "accredited by whom." Most accrediting systems are really just peer review does this institution meet "our" standards.

A couple of questions that help determine the value of the accrediting are:

- which programs are accredited by whom ? (both schools and their individual programs are subject to accreditation). often the accreditation reports are online.

- does (your favorite) state university accept transfer credits from that institution ? 

- what do the students think of the school ? (ask friends to ask friends, etc just like he's done here !)

- check back with your high school guidance counselor ! 

- google it - and especially google it for "news"

That said, 

UMUC is a division of a state university - it's part of the University of Maryland system. So it should be especially easy to do a few years work on line, spend a year on campus and come out with a full fledged degree.  And tuition seems decent .. They also have a set of "college prep" courses math, writing, research  

South University is a "private, for profit" university. The programs are probably decent but they have come under scrutiny for "predatory lending" [I also have an ex military friend who teaches there, and I can ask him what his recommendation would be ]