Accreditation

Please kindly view our latest essay on Accreditation before proceeding to learn how our doctoral programs are equivalent to a regionally accredited US college or university:
A Seat At The Table For Blue Marble University

The concept of “accreditation” is applicable only to US colleges and universities and does not apply to international educational institutions, such as Blue Marble University.

In addition,  virtual universities such as ours do not qualify for “accreditation”.  Much of “higher education” in the USA appears to be opposed to budget style offerings of good education at the reduced price internet technology can provide.

Because many employers, corporations, government agencies, and other entities conduct their own in-house evaluations of foreign education credentials, it would be helpful to you, the applicant, to provide your Curriculum, Official Academic Record, and copy of Degree from Blue Marble University as part of your application package. Encourage the employer to browse our website for further information about your degree program. The more information an employer has, the better chances you have to be accepted for a position.

Equivalency of Our Doctoral Programs to Regionally Accredited US Colleges and Universities

Our doctoral degrees, as most foreign education degrees, are accepted in the USA as being equivalent to a regionally accredited USA college or university, as determined by a professional foreign credentials evaluation service. We are “equivalent” because all of our doctoral degrees are comprised of a minimum 72 trimester credit hours, the minimum required in the USA.

If you were to attend a university overseas, it would not be “accredited”. Yet many people with overseas education use that education in the USA. They have their degrees approved as equivalent to a regionally accredited USA college or university. There are many such foreign credential evaluation bodies.  One such organization is the California University Foreign Credential Evaluation Service (CUFCE) at: http://cufce.org.

Because all of our doctoral programs require a minimum of 72 trimester credits of study, they are equivalent to the minimum requirements  for a regionally accredited USA college or university doctoral degree.  Therefore, graduates of our doctoral programs are qualified for most state and federal jobs based on our degree being equivalent to a USA doctoral degree. Graduates can for a nominal fee receive a certificate from CUFCE or other credential evaluators to the effect that the doctoral degree issued by Blue Marble University is equivalent to a doctoral degree issued by a regionally accredited USA college or university.

Of course, whether or not your prospective employer accepts your credentials depends on many factors. It is convenient to assert: “Your degree is from an online college”.  However, most employers now understand and see the value in alternative, non-traditional education, and if they feel you can contribute to their operation and success, you will be hired. They realize that it is the body of work and dissertation completed by a student in a program that is important and not so much whether a program is “accredited”.

International Recognition

It is the policy of Blue Marble University  to seek international recognition of its programs in due course. We believe that it is in the best interest of both the Faculty and the students to obtain some type of validation of our programs by an independent reviewing organization.

In the meantime, it is believed that students may nonetheless qualify for employer-paid educational benefits. If your employer is concerned about recognizing the University for payment of tuition or otherwise, please address your inquiry to our legal section. We will be happy to correspond with your employer on a case by case basis as we move forward toward  international recognition.

Blue Marble University follows the guidelines known as “Best Practices for Electronically Offered Degree and Certificate Programs”. This set of guidelines was developed in 2000 by the Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications, and has been adopted by the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions.


Further Notes Concerning Accreditation

For those that might be interested, we offer some further notes concerning why Blue Marble University is not accredited by any USA agency or body, which relates primarily to being an alternative, non-traditional educational institution. As we have said, a foreign educational institution such as ours is not required to be “accredited”.  Blue Marble University Ltd., the parent corporation of Blue Marble University,  is incorporated in the Commonwealth of Dominica to issue degrees upon the recommendation of its Faculty.  But  when our small group first began to develop Blue Marble University, we of course considered various pathways toward accreditation. We were surprised to learn that there was and is no pathway for the accreditation of a strictly virtual university with no campus that uses the internet to offer scholarly programs on a budget.

It seems that the traditional colleges want to keep online education to themselves, and they use the government to help them. A quote from the Georgia education regulations is instructive: “It is generally assumed that institutions using a distance education method of delivery will already have an adequate on-ground program in place.” All of the States appear likewise to eagerly bar virtual schools that could save students substantial education costs.

And now, having been operational for several years, we find that traditional accreditation seems to be coming apart as the USA  federal government calls for major reform, and even suggests the abolishment of the accreditation system altogether. We question whether any new institution would want to get involved in a procedure which now seems to lack much of a following.  Take a look at the increasingly hostile comments of the United States Department of Education toward the Accreditation Industry:

2010: The US Department of Education questions “seat time”, which is the foundation of the accreditation system, rejecting the traditional time requirement of 4 years for an undergraduate degree, and stating that accreditation procedures should be reformed to emphasize “schools that organize around competence rather than seat time…[and schools that provide] more flexible scheduling that fits a student’s individual needs rather than on traditional academic periods and lockstep curriculum pacing”. Click here for “National Education Technology Plan 2010“.

2012 (January): The USA Department of Education position that seat time should be abolished is reaffirmed. Click here for“Understanding the Implications of Online Learning for Educational Productivity”.

2012 (November): US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said this of online colleges, “The existing accreditation system was not designed to accommodate them and it would be a mistake to try to bend or warp its mission to do so. It can’t be done.” He believes that a new federal regulatory system needs to be designed to deal with online and for-profit colleges rather than trying to apply outmoded traditional accreditation guidelines to them.” Click HERE for “8 Higher Ed Accreditation Reforms That Need to Happen Now”, published November 25, 2012 at OnlineColleges.org

2012: US Department of Education begins discussing the abolition of the accreditation system: “Any serious analysis of accreditation as it is currently practiced results in the unmistakable conclusion that institutional purposes, rather than public purposes, predominate….Traditional approaches to accreditation are not meeting today’s needs. Technology has rendered the quaint jurisdictional approach to accreditation obsolete. Some standards actually vary by region. The rise of distance learning and electronic delivery of educational content across borders means that provider and student can be nations apart. Campuses and content today ignore geographic boundaries. More and more students are crossing state lines to complete their education and enrolling in multiple institutions, often simultaneously. Accreditation should refocus efforts on student achievement for the growing number who undertake alternative forms of education, and expand international quality assurance efforts.” Click here for “The Need For Accreditation Reform” published by the Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education

Sure, the traditional educational institutions and the many websites and organizations that push their products (most of which organizations they created)  constantly tout the great value of an accredited college or university. These kinds of self-serving positions are meant solely to protect their positions as the great gatekeepers of higher education. They constantly warn prospective students to beware of “unaccredited” programs, which, let’s face it, are an incredible threat to their high priced existence. At USC (University of Southern California), the Dean of the Education School, Karen Gallagher was asked:  How come your online Masters Degree in Teaching costs the same as for the on-campus program? The answer: “If you want a USC degree, you have to pay USC tuition”. That sure says it all, doesn’t it? [Anya Kamenetz, “DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education” (Chelsea Green Publishing 2010), interview with Karen Gallagher, at page 90].

The only value to attending an accredited institution is that you will qualify for federal loan programs which you will need to pay for it!! Only “accredited” institutions qualify for USA student loans. This is totally irrelevant to Blue Marble University, which charges as low as $2700/yr for a doctoral program…you don’t need a student loan…and we even offer a no interest payment plan.

We believe, as many others do, that acquiring proficiency in a subject is more important then “seat time”, the foundation of USA accreditation. Seat time is the idea that a B.A. program should be 120 credits earned over a 4 year period. Of course, in a typical B.A. program, 75% of the courses are not of interest to the students nor applicable to their long term goals.

And, accreditation is Big Business, make no mistake.  Just try to find out what an application for accreditation costs. You won’t find it. They are well kept secrets. Not only are the application costs outrageous and based on the number of students an institution has (the more students, the more an institution pays), but a large team of attorneys, education consultants, accountants and other experts are needed to help with the application package.  Although difficult to piece together, it has been estimated that you, the student, are charged at least $2500/year (included in your tuition) for attending an accredited college or university.  Here, at Blue Marble, we charge only a bit more for your entire tuition!! Which includes ALL textbooks and learning materials as well!!!

Blue Marble University rejects seat time, and we drop seat time entirely in each and every one of our programs. We concentrate on offering novel, interesting programs that lead to proficiency respecting a subject matter. The majority of Bachelor degrees we offer are two year programs which lay the foundation for our 3 year doctoral degrees. The 2 year period is spent on learning material relevant to the doctoral program it leads into. That is why we offer a variety of combination bachelor/doctoral programs that can be completed in 5 years.

When we designed our doctoral programs, we ended up with 3 year programs, because we felt that three years of course work, creation of individual online portfolio and/or dissertation was required to attain proficiency in a particular field. Consequently, all of our doctoral programs are created to contain 72 trimester credits earned over 3 years. Because of our adherence to the 72 trimester credit requirement, our doctoral programs are equivalent to those of a regionally accredited college or university in the USA. Now, what does “equivalent” mean?? It means that, although our doctoral programs are not accredited, they are nonetheless deemed to be “equivalent”.

We have decided that we no longer have any interest in trying to be a part of the Old Educational Establishment. Nor do we have any interest in acquiring accreditation from one of the many fake accreditors just so we can pretend to be part of the old system. We rather be part of the new, vibrant, and innovative parallel education system which is rapidly developing. This new universe of education is sometimes referred to as “alternative education”, sometimes as  “non-traditional education”. Even the US Department of Education now recognizes the growing number of students that are undertaking alternative forms of education.

And we have noticed a new trend here at Blue Marble University. Students no longer inquire if we are accredited, as in the past…they just send in their applications.

Maybe what Daniel S. Christian predicted in May 2011 is now coming true:  “If the accreditation bodies don’t respond to the growing suspicion towards them – and towards higher education as a whole – it will be like water going around a rock in a stream. People will flow right by them – whether the government assumes control or not.”