Overview of Accreditation
The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality. Accreditation in the United States involves non-governmental entities as well as governmental agencies.
Accrediting agencies, which are private educational associations of regional or national scope, develop evaluation criteria and conduct peer evaluations to assess whether or not those criteria are met. Institutions and/or programs that request an agency's evaluation and that meet an agency's criteria are then "accredited" by that agency.
The United States has no federal Ministry of Education or other centralized authority exercising single national control over postsecondary educational institutions in this country. The states assume varying degrees of control over education, but, in general, institutions of higher education are permitted to operate with considerable independence and autonomy.
In order to insure a basic level of quality, the practice of accreditation arose in the United States as a means of conducting nongovernmental, peer evaluation of educational institutions and programs. Private educational associations of regional or national scope have adopted criteria reflecting the qualities of a sound educational program and have developed procedures for evaluating institutions or programs to determine whether or not they are operating at basic levels of quality
The U.S. Department of Education does not accredit educational institutions and/or programs. However, the Secretary of Education is required by law to publish a list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies that the Secretary determines to be reliable authorities as to the quality of education or training provided by the institutions of higher education and the higher education programs they accredit.
Taft Law School, through The Taft University System, is institutionally accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. On June 14, 2013 the Commission voted to extend its accreditation until 2018. This action was taken after consideration of an extensive self-study prepared by The Taft University System and the report of a site visitation team that included representatives of both regionally and American Bar Association accredited schools. The five-year extension is the maximum permissible under DEAC standards.
The Distance Education Accrediting Commission (www.deac.org) is a non-profit section 501(c) (6) educational association located in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 1926 to promote sound educational standards and ethical business practices within the correspondence field. The independent nine-member Accrediting Commission of the DEAC was established in 1955. Shortly thereafter it gained the approval of the U.S. Department of Education as a "nationally recognized accrediting agency" under federal law. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) also recognizes the Accrediting Commission.
The DEAC is a voluntary, non-governmental, educational organization that operates the nationally recognized accrediting association, the DEAC. The DEAC defines, maintains, and promotes educational excellence in distance education institutions. The Commission is dedicated to fostering quality assurance, protection of the rights of the students and institutional self-improvement through voluntary accreditation via peer evaluation. DEAC accreditation aims to instill public confidence in DEAC institutions' missions, goals, performances, and resources through rigorous application and peer-developed accreditation standards.
With its 80-plus years of history and its highly refined and federally recognized accreditation program, DEAC offers distance learning institutions the most current, relevant and practical services for the 21st Century.
Recognition by the State Bar of California Degree granting authority in connection with its students qualifying to take the California Bar Examination and obtain admission to the practice of law in California is based on Taft Law School's registration as an unaccredited law school with the Committee of Bar Examiners.
The Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California requires all distance education law schools to include the information set forth below in their catalog. As described in greater detail in the Taft Law School Catalog Supplements, the School utilizes both telecommunications and independent study learning modalities in its Juris Doctor Programs.
The Committee of Bar Examiners classifies distance education law schools into two categories, “distance-learning law schools” and “correspondence law schools.” By rule, a “distance-learning law school” must require that students participate in not less than 135 hours of synchronous (live) interactive classes per year.
Because Taft Law School students reside in many time zones, Taft faculty believe it would be an unreasonable hardship to require students to be available on specific days and at specific times. Therefore, it has NOT implemented any policies that would require its students to participate in live classes. As a result, for Committee of Bar Examiners purposes Taft Law School has elected to be classified as a correspondence law school. (It is important for students to note that this classification has no bearing whatsoever on a student’s eligibility to sit for the bar examination or admission to practice law in California.)
The method of instruction at Taft Law School for the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree program is principally by correspondence. Students enrolled in either of the Juris Doctor-Attorney Track Programs at Taft Law School who successfully complete the first year of law study must pass the First-Year Law Students’ Examination required by Business and Professions Code § 6060(h) as part of the requirements to qualify to take the California Bar Examination. A student who passes the First-Year Law Students’ Examination within three (3) administrations of the examination after first becoming eligible to take it will receive credit for all legal studies completed to the time the examination is passed. A student who does not pass the examination within three (3) administrations of the examination after first becoming eligible to take it must be promptly disqualified from the law school’s Juris Doctor-Attorney Track Program. If the dismissed student subsequently passes the examination, the student is eligible for re-enrollment in this law school’s Juris Doctor-Attorney Track Program but will receive credit for only one year of legal study.
Study at, or graduation from, this law school may not qualify a student to take the bar examination or to satisfy the requirements for admission to practice in jurisdictions other than California. A student intending to seek admission to practice law in a jurisdiction other than California should contact the admitting authority in that jurisdiction for information regarding the legal education requirements in that jurisdiction for admission to the practice of law.
Taft Law School is an institutional member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). CHEA is a non-profit organization serving as the national advocate for voluntary accreditation and quality assurance to the U.S. Congress and U.S. Department of Education.
American Council on Education
The Taft University System is an institutional member of the
American Council on Education
Membership in the American Council on Education is open to accredited, degree-granting colleges and universities, and higher education associations located within the United States. ACE speaks as higher education's voice in matters of public policy in Washington DC and throughout the nation.
Association of Collegiate
Registrars and Admissions Officers
The Taft University System is an institutional member of the
Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions
AACRAO is a non-profit, professional association of
higher education administrators. Its goal is to foster
the professional development of its individual members
by providing guidelines and voluntary standards for best
practices in records management, admissions, enrollment
management, administrative information technology, and
student services. Institutional membership is limited to
nationally or regionally accredited colleges or
Computer- Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI)
Taft Law School is currently a member of the Center for
Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction
(CALI). CALI is a United States 501(c)(3) non-profit consortium of law schools that researches and develops computer-mediated legal instruction and supports institutions and individuals using technology in legal education.
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