Taft University� Accreditation Questions and Answers: “5. Q. What is the difference between accreditation and California approval?
A. Accreditation, at least in theory, is a purely voluntary, non-governmental peer review process. We say, �in theory� because as a practical matter, accreditation, or a defined plan to obtain accreditation, is necessary to operate in the majority of states. California approval is essentially a licensing function designed to protect the citizens of the State of California. At one time, in our opinion, California approval was a reasonable indicator of quality. However, over the two decades of our existence, �approval� has evolved from being equivalent to accreditation under California law to approved schools being legally prohibited from even using the term �accredited� in any advertisement or promotional material unless the school is accredited by a DOE recognized accrediting body. The approval process at one time was under the oversight of the California Department of Education. It is now under a division of the Department of Consumer Affairs, an agency that licenses everything from accountants to welders but had no experience in postsecondary education. The approval process has deteriorated in the last few years to the extent that a school has been allowed to open with only one (Yes, one!) faculty member. Hardly an indicator of quality.”