As of February 2015, the federal government does not have a Board of Education, and the U.S. Department of Education does not directly accredit schools. However, the Secretary of Education recognizes certain accrediting agencies as reliable authorities, and the Department of Education maintains a list of these agencies.
The complete list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies is called the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs, and it can be found at the Department of Education website.
Many popular online colleges have accreditations recognized by the Secretary of Education. The University of Phoenix is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, as are the American Public University System and DeVry University. Liberty University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Ashford University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. UMassOnline is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Accreditation standards are developed by each individual accreditation agency in collaboration with educational institutions. Online schools are subject to accreditation rules of the state where they are based and their local or regional accrediting agency. Even though both national and regional organizations are recognized by the Secretary of Education, there may be significant differences in how their credits can be transferred.