What is the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)?

Located in Washington, DC the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) is a private, non-profit organization, recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, to accredit those institutions that primarily offer distance education.

What is distance education?

According to Brittanica.com, distance education is a “form of education in which the main elements include physical separation of teachers and students during instruction and the use of various technologies to facilitate student-teacher and student-teacher communication.”

Examples include online courses, video conferencing and e-learning.

Distance learning has been utilized for over years by many institutions, but became more prevalent in 2020, when a majority of institutions had to convert to this form of learning during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

How does DEAC Accredit?

Institutions who wish to be accredited by DEAC should review the requirements in the DEAC Accreditation Handbook, which is available on their web site at deac.org.   From here, the process occurs in four steps: 1) Preparing for Accreditation 2) Demonstration of eligibility 3) Self-evaluation and readiness assessment and 4) Full evaluation for accreditation.

How did the DEAC Come About?

Although distance education is a large part of world today, the DEAC was actually formed in 1926 under its original name, the National Home Study Council (NHSC).  The Carnegie Corporation, a philanthropic fund established to support education found that there was a lack of standards for correspondence schools and that students were being defrauded by some of these.  A response to this was the formation of the NHSC, which eventually became the DEAC.

What does DEAC Offer Students?

On their web site, deac.org, the commission offers a number of resources for students, including, among others: a search of accredited institutions, how to apply for federal financial aid, how to transfer credits and programs for military service members.

Who Serves on the DEAC Committee?

The DEAC evaluation committee is made up of volunteers within the industry who must complete the online application, found on the DEAC web site.  Applicants must hold a degree from an appropriate accredited institution and also have experience with distance education delivery methods.

How Does DEAC field complaints?

Once the DEAC receives a complaint, the complainant is sent communication acknowledging this.  There is then an in-depth review, after which the Executive Director reviews the complaint and appropriate action (which can take several months) and appropriate action taken.