21st Century CPCA Certification


The  CPCA  Board  commissioned  in  2010  an  objective,  extensive,  comprehensive,  extremely thorough  examination  of  recognized  USDE  Accreditation  Agencies  accreditation processes which was completed in 2014. We compared them to the 2010 CPCA certification process with the intended purpose of achieving an advanced 21st Century CPCA Certification process. The  

21st Century CPCA Certification process was created with academic standards and practices of higher learning for faith based institutions. CPCA certification requires affirmation of compliance with the  academic  excellence  standards  of the  CPCA.  They  are  patterned  after  our  early historical  United  States  educational  institutions  of  higher  learning.  CPCA standards equal  or 

exceed  the  minimum  standards  of  many  State  Departments  of  Education.  The educational standards are academically comparable to USDE recognized accreditation educational standards. The CPCA process  recognizes  faith  based  principles  of  operation  which  includes  faith  based  economic principles.

Debt is a  problem  for  college  students  after  graduation.  CPCA institutions discourage  student loan   debt.   Therefore,   CPCA   certification   excludes   the   massive   USDE   recognized accreditation requirements pertaining to  receiving  US government Title  IV funds. This includes federally backed student loan money. Accepting these funds leads to, "whoever pays the piper has the right to call the tune." This allows government to have requirements that violate God's faith based principles in the Bible.

CPCA Certification with the Council of Private Colleges of America includes quality peer review, certification Facilitator Team visits,  and  verifying  data  to  CPCA  standards.  These  CPCA standards  are  academically  comparable to  USDE recognized accreditation educational standards for  educational  or  professional  institutions and  programs.  The  CPCA  determines  the  extent  to  which  the  measurable  standards  of excellence are met, and publicly announces their findings.

The Certification Process

The CPCA Certification Commission encourages each of its member institutions to be certified with 21st Century CPCA Certification This enables member institutions to  achieve  distinguished membership levels in the CPCA and the Florida Council of Private Colleges (FCPC)  

Distinguished Membership Levels 

Level 4 Distinguished membership requires either CPCA 10-Year CERTIFIED Certification or CPCA 5-Year CERTIFIED Certification.

Level 3 Distinguished membership requires either CPCA  Candidate Certification or CPCA Candidate Certification.

Understanding How Legitimate 21st Century CPCA Certification and Legitimate USDE Accreditation Differ

The Council of Private Colleges of America is a certification agency that establishes operating standards for educational or professional institutions and programs in US states, territories and internationally where it is feasible to do so.  The CPCA determines the extent to which the standards are met, and publicly announces their findings.  Certification with the Council of Private Colleges of America includes quality peer review, certification Facilitator Team visits, verifying data to CPCA standards for educational or professional institutions and programs which are similar to accreditation.

CPCA certification requires affirmation of compliance with the academic excellence standards of the CPCA patterned after our early historical United States educational institutions of higher learning. CPCA standards equal or exceed the minimum standards of many State Departments of Education.

Accreditation is essentially a statement of approval.  In the United States, if it is to be meaningful in that an institution is eligible for Title IV Federal funding, it must come from an independent accrediting association that has attained its own approval from the United States Department of Education (USDE).

In the US, the government does not accredit institutions.  However, the USDE is in the business of approving the associations which do accredit institutions primarily for the purpose of serving as gate keepers for Title IV Funding.  This point must be understood in order to properly understand USDE recognized accreditation.  The primary reason that USDE approves accrediting agencies is to assure control over the flow of Title IV Funding; the nearly 80 billion dollar congressionally approved annual money stream that flows from taxpayers to educational institutions that are accredited by an agency approved by USDE.  The greater part of accreditation requirements are geared toward satisfying the USDE mandated standards specifically designed to regulate the flow of the huge taxpayer investment in Title IV Funding for higher education.

Accrediting associations in the U.S. are not required to seek USDE recognition, but without it, the value of such accreditation may be questionable. These accreditation mills, not recognized by the USDE, mislead the education consumer regarding not being eligible to receive Title IV Funds, transfer of credits to institutions with USDE approved accreditation, and certain government employment positions. That is why schools promoting accreditation from sources not approved by the USDE are considered "unaccredited.”

The CPCA has pioneered use of the term "certification" to avoid any confusion with the term “accreditation” thereby, keeping the Lord’s testimony above reproach. CPCA certification is also essentially a statement of approval, but significantly different from accreditation in several important ways.  Most important, CPCA certification is not tied to Title IV Funding.  Only USDE recognized accreditation qualifies institutions to receive such funding.  CPCA certification is not the same as accreditation because the CPCA certification criteria are not geared toward satisfying the requirements for Title IV Funding. The CPCA certification process recognizes faith based principles of operation which includes faith based economic principles. This is one of the reasons that certifying agencies are not as well known, and their value not as readily understood. 

Legitimate CPCA certification is academically comparable to USDE legitimate recognized accreditation educational standards in that it also involves voluntary peer review through private agencies accountable to their constituents. Legitimate CPCA certification is not tied to the federal government Title IV Funding, but USDE legitimate recognized accreditation is tied to Title IV Funding.  Much of the misunderstanding that arises between the two is due to the lack of consumer awareness and the generally held, though false belief, that accreditation is the only standard for academic legitimacy.

Furthermore, certification is a term more often associated with professions.  For example, there are certified professionals in banking, insurance, medicine, and in many other areas.  Of course, the term "accredited" is also used in many of these situations.  For example, an organization may be an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau. This is because the two terms often serve as synonyms. However, when it comes to higher education, “accreditation” is tied to Title IV Funding and legitimate CPCA certification is not.

CPCA legitimate certification is an excellent vehicle for achieving distinguished academic legitimacy, especially for faith-based educational institutions with no desire or need to seek government accreditation for the purpose of qualifying for Title IV Funding.  In fact, within legitimate higher education circles, it is understood that not all higher education institutions need USDE recognized accreditation as is evidenced in the following quotes.

The United States Department of Education also makes the point; "It should be noted that some institutions have chosen not to participate in the federal student aid program (Title IV Funds) and therefore do not have to be approved by an accrediting agency recognized by the USDE Department. While these institutions do not appear on the USDE’s Department list, they may be legitimate schools."

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) states; "There are institutions that may not be accredited but are not degree mills. For example, the institution may be seeking accreditation, but the process is not complete. Or a legitimate institution may choose not to be accredited for reasons that do not relate to quality." Legitimate examples: Do not want federal Title IV Funding. Not cost effective to seek USDE recognized accreditation. Do not want to yield Biblical authority to government authority.

A former executive director of the Association for Biblical Higher Education (an accrediting agency recognized by the USDE), stated that "There are hundreds of Bible Colleges and Seminaries in the United States and Canada that are offering good solid theological training, yet they are not  accredited. This would be the case with our Affiliate institutions that take advantage of the programs and services that we offer." Legitimate examples: Do not want federal Title IV Funding. Not cost effective to seek USDE recognized accreditation. Do not want to yield Biblical authority to government authority.

Therefore, both unaccredited and accredited faith-based institutions of higher learning are encouraged to consider the many benefits of 21st Century CPCA Certification.

Click HERE to request information.

CPCA Members Certification Status


21st Century CPCA 10-Year CERTIFIED

These Institutions are CPCA Advanced Members

21st Century CPCA 10-Year CERTIFIED Awarded

  • [A] Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, Illinois
  • [A] Robert E. Weber Institute for Worship Studies, The, Orange Park, Florida

CPCA 10-Year CERTIFIED Process


21st Century CPCA 5-Year CERTIFIED

These Institutions are CPCA Advanced Members



These Institutions are CPCA Sustaining Members

21st Century CPCA APPLICANT Awarded

  • [S] Zion Christian University, Clearwater, Florida
  • [S] Florida Christian University, Inc., Orlando, Florida



Previous CPCA Certification

Previous CPCA 10-Year CERTIFIED

Terminating on December 31st 2018

  • Conservative Theological University, Jacksonville, Florida
  • Florida Christian University, Inc., Orlando, Florida
  • MASTER’S International University of Divinity, Evansville, Indiana
  • New Covenant International University, Lake Worth, Florida

Previous CPCA 5-Year CERTIFIED

Terminating on December 31st 2018

  • Chapel Christian University, Cocoa, Florida
  • Covenant Life University, Fort Myers, Florida
  • Holy Spirit University, Port Orange, Florida
  • International Theological Seminary, Bradenton, Florida
  • Kaleo Institute, The, Jacksonville, Florida
  • Reformation International College, Fellsmere, Florida
  • Reformation International Theological Seminary, Fellsmere, Florida
  • Southeastern Theological Seminary, Jacksonville, Florida
  • Southern Baptist School for Biblical Studies, Jacksonville, Florida
  • Trinity Theological College and Seminary, Jacksonville, Florida
  • Universidad Iberoamericana de Liderazgo, Miami, Florida

Previous CPCA 3-Year CERTIFIED

Terminating on December 31st 2018

  • Carmen L. Stewart Apostolic Institute of Learning, Margate, Florida
  • Christian International School of Theology, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
  • Cornerstone Christian University, Orlando, Florida
  • Covenant Theological Seminary, Tallahassee, Florida
  • Dayspring Theological Seminary, Panama City, Florida
  • International Bible University, Inc., Orlando, Florida
  • Tampa Bay Bible College, Lutz, Florida
  • West Florida Baptist Institute, Pensacola, Florida

Previous CPCA 1-Year Certified

Terminated on December 31, 2015

  • Z. E. Brown Bible College, Tallahassee, Florida

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