The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, the panel that advises the education secretary on accrediting agencies, last Friday approved a set of recommendations on revamping the accreditation process in the next reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA), which expires at the end of 2013.
While an early draft of the recommendations suggested removing accreditation as a condition of an institution's students receiving federal financial aid, the final plan did not include this provision, which would have been the most far-reaching revision. Suggested changes include setting minimum consumer protection standards for states and urging the department to "encourage a dialogue" about sector-based accreditation.
While these are just recommendations, we are concerned they could lead to even greater oversight of the accreditation process by federal and state governments and increased costs for everyone involved. We will be working with Congress to shape the next HEA reauthorization bill and so will have a chance to revisit these proposals next year.