Higher education accreditation is a type of quality assurance process under which services and operations of post-secondary educational institutions or programs are evaluated to determine if applicable standards are met. If standards are met, accredited status is granted by the agency.
In most countries around the world, the function of educational accreditation for higher education is conducted by a government organization, such as a ministry of education. In the United States, however, the quality assurance process is independent of government and performed by private agencies.
The United States-based Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), a non-governmental organization, maintains an international directory which contains contact information of about 467 quality assurance bodies, accreditation bodies and ministries of education in 175 countries. The quality assurance and accreditation bodies have been authorized to operate by their respective governments either as agencies of the government or as private (non-governmental) organizations. In September 2012, University World News reported the launching on an international division of the council.