In some states, it can be illegal to use an online degree from an institution that is not accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency.
Accreditation in the United States is a voluntary, non-governmental process, in which an institution and its programs are evaluated against standards for measuring quality.
If an institution is accredited by a recognized agency, its teachers, coursework, and facilities, equipment, and supplies are reviewed on a routine basis to ensure students receive a quality education and get what they pay for.
Accreditation can be a tricky subject, especially as it relates to distance education and online degree programs. One of the main things to remember is that online school or college that is licensed is not necessarily accredited. Licensure simply gives an institution the legal right to function (to offer online degrees and/or campus based programs). Licensure should not be viewed as a guarantee of educational quality.