The Meaning of Accreditation

There are three types of accreditation: regional, national, and specialized.
The US Department of Education provides detailed descriptions on the types of accreditation.

Union Institute & University

Union is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. In addition, our Bachelor of Science major in Social work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is recognized by the National Board of Certified Counselor.

Union Institute & University is regionally accredited by
The Higher Learning Commission.



The Bachelor of Science major in Social Work is accredited by the CSWE.

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The Master of Arts with a major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is recognized by the National Board for Certified Counselors. Students who graduate from the program will have met course requirements for national certification as a counselor. They may sit for the national exam while in their final term or after graduation.



State Authorizations and Exemptions

On September 2015, UI&U was by approved by the state of Ohio to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. NC-SARA is a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of post-secondary distance education. Membership in the agreement, also known as SARA, means that the university no longer has restrictions with regard to enrolling students living in other SARA member states. Membership in SARA is growing as more states join the agreement. Many states have already joined, which can be seen by the map at Contact the UI&U admissions office to determine whether your state is authorized.

Many states require no formal authorization or exemption for out-of-state schools to enroll state residents in online programs. For those states where UI&U has established academic centers, and for a small number of additional key states, Union has obtained formal authorization or exemptions as required by the individual state’s regulations. Click to expand the list below and learn more about exemptions in each state.

NC-SARA Approved Institution logo round


In 2011, the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education recognized that Union Institute & University (which had been authorized by the Bureau to operate centers and offer programs in California since 1983) was qualified, by reason of its regional accreditation, to be exempt from the need for authorization to operate in California. This exempt status continues indefinitely, unless the state’s regulations change or the university loses its accreditation.


The Florida Commission for Independent Education has authorized Union Institute & University to offer degree programs and to operate a center in Florida since 1983.

Today, UI&U’s authorization by the Commission is based on the university’s accredited status: authorization must be renewed each year. The Commission’s authorization to all UI&U B.S. majors (except Child and Adolescent Development, offered only in California); the Master of Arts with a major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling; the Ed.D.; and the Ph.D. programs. The state does not require specific authorization for the university’s fully online programs that are based at other centers (i.e. the B.A., the individualized M.A., and the M.S. in Organizational Leadership). Florida residents may enroll in any of these programs, but will be served by their program offices, not by staff at the Miami academic center.


The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education authorizes Union Institute & University to enroll Kentucky residents in the following programs: B.A. in Liberal Studies; all B.S. majors except Child and Adolescent Development and the teacher education majors offered only in Florida; and all Union Institute & University graduate degree programs.

All authorized programs are online or hybrid: the university may not operate a center or teach courses in Kentucky.Visit the Council website for a listing of approved programs or contact the Council on Postsecondary Education at 1024 Capital Center Drive, Suite 320, Frankfort, KY 40601 for more information.


In January 2014, the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education Commission voted to authorize Union Institute & University’s Master of Arts with a major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Doctor of Psychology degrees. Fully online programs do not require authorization to enroll Massachusetts residents, as there is no physical presence in the state. Students enrolled in programs other than the two listed may not carry out internships, practica, or other field learning in Massachusetts.


The Ohio Department of Education has authorized all degree programs offered by Union Institute & University. As UI&U’s home state, the Department also authorizes the university as a degree-granting institution, operating a full campus within the state.


The Vermont State Board of Education has authorized all degree programs offered by Union Institute & University, as well as authorized the university to operate the New England Center in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Note: Completion of the B.S. with a major in Social Work and/or the Master of Arts with a major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling does not automatically qualify students for certification or licensure in their state, as each state has its own unique standards and requirements. Prospective students should consult the appropriate state and/or national regulatory agency regarding requirements and processes.