When a college is nonaccredited, it means that the institution has not applied for or met the standards for the program set by a peer-review accreditation board. Accreditation refers to a level of quality and consistency as determined by private standards. The government is not involved in college accreditation.
Students who choose to attend an unaccredited institution or pursue a degree from an unaccredited program do so with inherent risks. The lack of accreditation equates to a lack of quality control, and in some states, students have a more difficult time attending these programs. In Oregon, North Dakota and New Jersey, students who receive a degree from this kind of institution are required to declare this fact when they apply for jobs and meet with potential employers. No state or federal student aid is available for students enrolled in these institutions.
Technical certifications from reputable companies, such as Microsoft, lie outside of the parameters of education accreditation, but can advance students in a career field. Programs in the culinary arts are also often not accredited, instead aligning themselves with a famous chef or restaurant. These programs are built on the reputations of their respective companies and are valid in many professional circles.