Differentiation Vs. Discrimination
Career College Central summary:
The Obama administration is toughening its regulation of for-profit colleges in numerous straightforward ways, most notably and publicly by taking another shot (after a federal judge blocked the last one) at drafting rules requiring vocational programs to prove that they are preparing students for "gainful employment."
Advocates for career colleges and other, more independent observers accuse the Obama administration officials of discriminating against for-profit institutions in a less-visible way, too — and twisting federal statutes to do so.
Specifically, they say, the U.S. Education Department is differentially applying rules governing state authorization of higher education programs, requiring for-profit institutions in California that are regionally accredited by the Western Association of Colleges and School to go through a rigorous state approval process from which the department has agreed to exempt nonprofit colleges that are accredited by WASC.
Education Department officials have told officials of the Western accreditor — as they told Inside Higher Ed — that federal rules adopted by the administration in 2010 purposefully distinguish between the two categories of colleges, justifying the department's decision to treat the sectors differently.
But many observers in California — including Ralph S. Wolff, the former head of the Western accreditor's senior college commission — say there is no legal justification for treating the institutions differently.
Click through for full article content.
INSIDE HIGHER EDUCATION