Accreditation doesn’t happen overnight. The process varies between accreditors, but a new school could reasonably expect to spend the better part of a decade proving itself before gaining accreditation.

For instance, a hypothetical New School University in the Northeast would first need to apply for eligibility; two years later it could apply for candidacy. After five years of candidacy, New School U would then be able to apply for full accreditation.

A school receiving initial accreditation today would have had to begin the eligibility process in 2011 and would have needed to be operational far earlier than that in order to become accredited by today.

Outside of the confines of traditional higher education, a great deal has transpired since 2011. For instance, in that year, General Assembly–a pioneering bootcamp offering classes in coding and computer science–was founded. Since then, General Assembly has served over 35,000 students across its full- and part-time programs, expanded to 20 campuses across six countries, partnered with a range of Fortune 500 companies to train over 15,000 employees, and sold itself to staffing behemoth Adecco for $413 million.

About the Author:

Alana Dunagan is a higher education researcher at the Clayton Christensen Institute.