THE FISCAL TIMES: College Accreditors Care About Money, Not Students
Career College Central Summary:
The federal government doles out roughly $100 billion in student aid each year in the form of Pell grants and subsidized student loans. In order to accept that money from the Department of Education, colleges and universities must receive a stamp of approval from independent, federally recognized accreditors.
Yet while financial aid for students and universities is in demand more than ever – with student debt totaling more than $1.2 trillion and counting – the federal government isn’t doing enough to oversee which schools qualify to receive that money.
That’s the conclusion of a new report from the Government Accountability Office, which flags the Dept. of Education for not properly evaluating the independent accreditors responsible for deciding whether schools should receive accreditation or not.
Students as well as taxpayers are putting hundreds of billions of dollars toward federal student aid each year. Last year, federal student aid totaled $136 billion.
Right now, these accreditors are more likely to penalize or reward schools based on their financial health, rather than how well their students are performing or how valuable their degrees are when they enter the job market, according to the GAO.
“On average, accreditors were no more likely to issue terminations or probations to schools with weaker student outcomes compared to schools with stronger student outcomes,” the auditors said.
The report suggested that accreditors very rarely yank accreditations from schools. For example, from October 2009 through March 2014, just 66 schools, or less than 1 percent of all schools, lost their accreditations. The majority of those were for-profit schools with financial issues.
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THE FISCAL TIMES
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