Higher education institutions in the United States utilize nongovernmental peer review accreditation as an essential component of external review for quality assurance and quality improvement of educational programs. Since 2004, NACEP has served as a national accrediting body for concurrent enrollment partnership programs. As of May 2019, 112 concurrent enrollment programs in 23 states hold NACEP's national accreditation.
Accreditation is awarded to programs after a comprehensive peer review by a team of experienced representatives of NACEP-accredited concurrent enrollment partnerships. Applicants conduct a self-study and prepare an accreditation application with evidence documenting how the college or university implements NACEP’s 16 national standards for program quality in the areas of: curriculum, faculty, students, assessment, partnerships, and program evaluation.
- Serves as a guarantee to students, policy-makers, and other postsecondary institutions that the accredited partnership meets rigorous national standards
- Distinguishes a concurrent enrollment partnership, thereby enhancing its ability to recruit new partners and students
- Aids students and families when they seek credit recognition for their college credits earned through concurrent enrollment
- Allows programs to display the NACEP logo on their websites and in other publications
- Offers national leadership opportunities to concurrent enrollment professionals. Staff from NACEP-accredited concurrent enrollment programs may hold an elected position on the NACEP Board of Directors or be appointed as a Committee Chair to help shape the future of concurrent enrollment around the country.
Outlining a national agenda for strengthening accelerated learning programs, the authors of the 2006 report Postcards from the Margin: A National Dialogue on Accelerated Learning recommended that accrediting bodies such as NACEP take the lead in developing and promoting “a cohesive set of regionally and nationally recognized quality assurance standards for all accelerated learning options” (p. 9). Through NACEP-accreditation, concurrent enrollment partnerships demonstrate that they have met the standards of quality set by NACEP, in terms of faculty, curriculum, student assessment, student support, and program evaluation.