Call To Action On Accreditation

Career College Central summary:

  • The drumbeat of support for changing the U.S. accreditation system has played out here in recent months and years in many realms; it’s playing out at Congressional hearings, in the Obama White House, and at think-tank panel discussions. Accreditation, in the eyes of reformers, needs to change to put higher education on a path of booming innovation that will expand access and lower costs.
  • But for the accrediting agencies and their supporters, a push to overhaul accreditation is a fundamental threat to what they see as an important system of peer review that promotes and protects quality in higher education — and already promotes a fair amount of innovation. Regardless, the longstanding debates over the proper role of accreditation have reached a fever pitch, demanding action from within the accreditation world sooner rather than later.
  • That was an overarching theme here this week at the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s annual meeting, where several speakers said it’s time for accreditors to either engage with policy makers on accreditation changes to the Higher Education Act — or else have the terms of that debate be defined for them.
  • Susan D. Phillips, the provost of the State University of New York at Albany who chairs the federal panel that advises the Education Department on whether accreditors are following federal rules, said that the “loudest and most persuasive voices today are talking about affordability” in the context of accreditation. Phillips said that accreditors need to tackle the affordability issue head-on and answer the question of “what happens if you try to marry quality and cost” and to “find a relationship between affordability and quality that works best, and which would be better than being cornered into a shotgun wedding.”

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