Accreditor For Upstarts

Career College Central summary:

  • Some details are emerging on two bids for new accrediting bodies for non-college providers of higher education, such as online course creators or issuers of digital badges. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) is an association that represents colleges and recognizes accrediting organizations. The nonprofit group is mulling whether it could provide “quality review” for entities that fall outside of those that are currently accredited. One likely example would be StraighterLine, an unaccredited, online education company that offers low-cost courses but not credentials.
  • “We’re headed in that direction,” said Judith S. Eaton, the council’s president. “We think there’s something there.” Eaton said the idea is still in its exploratory phase. A key question the council is considering is whether the market for non-college providers will expand enough to warrant an accreditor. However, if the sector does take off, she said, CHEA has a “responsibility” to consider a quality review process.
  • The council’s approach differs from another upstart that is taking a look at creating a new accreditor. That concept, which is dubbed Modern States, a play on the name of a regional accreditor, would do reviews for individual online courses, rather than institutions.
  • David Bergeron, a former official at the U.S. Department of Education who is vice president of postsecondary education policy at the Center for American Progress, is playing a leadership role in the Modern States concept, He has teamed up on the project with Steven Klinsky, a financier and philanthropist who heads New Mountain Capital, an investment fund that is worth more than $12 billion.

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