What is Accreditation?
In the United States, institutions of higher learning voluntarily seek accreditation from nongovernmental bodies; such status attests to the quality of the educational experience being offered by the institution; it is an external "seal of approval." Kenyon College has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools continuously since 1938. This regional accrediting agency is headquartered in Chicago and is responsible for accrediting institutions of higher learning in a 19 state region that covers most of the mid-west, but also extends to states as far away as Arizona.
For more information on the national debate about accreditation see the Inside Higher Ed article, "Accreditors as Federal 'Gatekeepers'".