US News and World Report is one of the best known sources for ranking colleges and universities. It produces an annual ranking for both colleges and accounting programs in both printed and online forms. The basic information in the ranking is provided online free of charge; however, the user must purchase the detailed rankings. For 2011 US News and World Report ranks the accounting colleges as follows: 1) University of Texas-Austin; 2) University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign ; 3)Brigham Young University-Provo; 4) University of Pennsylvania; 5) University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; 6) University of Southern California; 7) Indiana University-Bloomington; 7) University of Notre Dame (tied with Indiana University); 9) New York University; 10) University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
This is just a portion of the list. For each school the list includes the tuition and fees, enrollment, setting, application date, and application fee. Additional information given for each school includes a description of the campus, the school’s mission, the number of students enrolled, and the proportions of male and female students. Additional university ranking information is given about both undergraduate and graduate education at these schools. For example, each school is ranked on things like its accounting program. It is likely that an accounting course from a highly-ranked school will be an excellent course.
Accounting School Accreditation
One essential element should be established before you select a school and apply to it. Is the school accredited by a recognized agency? Accreditation simply means that an agency that establishes standards for a quality education has reviewed the curriculum, instruction, and other programs to be sure they provide an appropriate level of education.
It is important to understand that, even if a school is accredited, the accreditation can sometimes mean very little. Some organizations provide accreditation for schools that are commonly known as “diploma mills,” or schools that provide diplomas without providing the education. The United States Department of Education (USDE) recognizes approved accrediting organizations, and a list of these can be found here. When considering online coursework, be sure to review the accreditation claimed by the school to be sure it is recognized by the USDE.
This recognition by the USDE is critical for those who need to receive financial aid in order to attend a school or college. Federal programs will not pay for attendance at non-accredited schools. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) is a voluntary self-regulatory organization that reviews and recognizes accreditation organizations that meet the appropriate quality standards. For an accounting course, quality is very important. These standards regard not only the quality of education, but fiscal, administration, recruitment, and admissions. CHEA also has a database online that allows searchers to find out whether an accreditation organization is reliable.