The University of Maine System is exploring whether to seek a single accreditation for the entire system as part of its effort to have all seven campuses seen as a unified whole.

Other four-year public university systems have single accreditations, including Penn State, which has one accreditation for 24 campuses.

Maine’s four-year public campuses are now individually accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Accreditation means that a university meets peer-reviewed standards for the quality of its programs and resources.

A single accreditation could help the UMaine System as it implements multi-campus degree programs or shifts to a unified budget process. “We want to find out if this is the right way to go,” said Chancellor James Page.

The system plans to formally request an opinion in May from the association’s Commission on Institutions of Higher Learning, and meet with the commission in June.

“We do not know whether they will or will not recommend single accreditation,” Page wrote in an email Monday to the campus communities.

Several regional accrediting agencies operate in the United States, with rigorous standards and reviews to ensure that campuses comply. Individual academic areas such as business schools or engineering programs have their own specialized accreditation agencies.