Association of Reformed Theological Seminaries (ARTS)
Western Reformed Seminary is a full member of the Association of Reformed Theological Seminaries (ARTS). Full membership in this organization is limited to those seminaries that have undergone a thorough peer review by the other members of the Association. While ARTS has not sought recognition from the federal Department of Education, it judges its members by similar standards as those required by accrediting agencies that are so recognized. ARTS certifies the quality and standards of its member seminaries to be of high academic quality and to be in agreement with the biblical, Reformed faith. Since ARTS is not recognized by the Department of Education, the transfer of WRS credits to other institutions is at the discretion of the receiving institution. ARTS is currently applying to CHEA for recognition.
Great Western Presbytery and General Synod of the Bible Presbyterian Church
Western Reformed Seminary is an approved agency of the Great Western Presbytery and General Synod of the Bible Presbyterian Church for the training of its ministers and laymen.
The Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC/SAA)
Veterans eligible for the G.I. Bill may study and receive government benefits for selected academic programs taken at WRS. Western Reformed Seminary’s academic programs of study are approved by the State Approving Agency of the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC/SAA) for enrollment of persons eligible to receive educational benefits under Title 38 and Title 10, U. S. Code.
“The Washington Student Achievement Council has determined that Western Reformed Seminary qualifies for religious exempt status from the Degree-Granting Institutions Act for the following programs: Bachelor of Divinity (B.D.); Bachelor of Religious Education (B.R.E); Master of Biblical Studies (M.B.S.); Master of Christian Ministry (M.C.M.); Master of Divinity (M.Div.); Master of Religious Education (M.R.E.); Master of Religious Studies (M.R.S.); and Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.). The Council makes no evaluation of the administration, faculty, business practices, financial condition or quality of the offerings by this institution. Any person desiring information about the requirements of the act or the applicability of those requirements to the institution may contact the Council at P.O. Box 43430, Olympia, WA 98504-3430 or by email at email@example.com."
U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement
WRS is also recognized by the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement as an academic school approved for issuing F-1 student visa applications. Also, the Federal I.R.S. has granted the non-profit status, thus making all contributions to the Seminary tax-deductible.
Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC)
WRS is a Training Center for the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) for preparing candidates for certification through ACBC.
Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI)
WRS also is recognized by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). Courses taken at WRS may be used to satisfy the biblical studies requirement to gain or maintain ACSI certification for Christian teachers.
A Note About Diploma Mills/Accreditation Mills
Students should be aware of such institutions and check with the Council for Higher Education to insure that the institution where they are seeking a degree is not one of these “mills.” While WRS seeks to offer classes and degree programs that are academically credible, prospective students need to be aware of this issue.
The Higher Education Opportunity Act defines a diploma mill as follows:
DIPLOMA MILL- The term `diploma mill' means an entity that--
(A)(i) offers, for a fee, degrees, diplomas, or certificates, that may be used to represent to the general public that the individual possessing such a degree, diploma, or certificate has completed a program of postsecondary education or training; and (ii) requires such individual to complete little or no education or coursework to obtain such degree, diploma, or certificate; and
(B) lacks accreditation by an accrediting agency or association that is recognized as an accrediting agency or association of institutions of higher education (as such term is defined in section 102) by--
(i) the Secretary pursuant to subpart 2 of part H of title IV; or (ii) a Federal agency, State government, or other organization or association that recognizes accrediting agencies or associations.
The dictionary defines a diploma mill as:
An institution of higher education operating without supervision of a state or professional agency and granting diplomas which are either fraudulent or because of the lack of proper standards worthless. - Webster's Third New International Dictionary
Diploma mills are schools that are more interested in taking your money than providing you with a quality education. You need to know how to protect yourself as a consumer.
Important: The Better Business Bureau suggests you watch for the following features and regard them as red flags when considering whether or not to enroll in a school:
- Degrees that can be earned in less time than at an accredited postsecondary institution, an example would be earning a Bachelor's degree in a few months.
- A list of accrediting agencies that sounds a little too impressive. Often, these schools will list accreditation by organizations that are not recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. These schools will also imply official approval by mentioning state registration or licensing.
- Offers that place unrealistic emphasis on offering college credits for lifetime or real world experience.
- Tuition paid on a per-degree basis, or discounts for enrolling in multiple degree programs. Accredited institutions charge by credit hours, course, or semester.
- Little or no interaction with professors.
- Names that are similar to well known reputable universities.
- Addresses that are box numbers or suites. That campus may very well be a mail drop box or someone's attic.
With the increase in the availability of earning degrees online there has been an increase in diploma mills. Diploma mills often use the Internet to market their programs. Diploma mills often promise degrees for a fee in a few short days or months.
Diploma mills require little, if any, academic work in order to earn a degree. Degrees from diploma mills are sometimes based on life experience alone or a level of academic work that is far below what an accredited postsecondary institution would require. Diploma mills can require little or no work but the result is the same, a degree that has no value and is meaningless.