August 2000

Volume 3
Number 2


Current Issue


CHEA Federal Relations Update

CHEA 2000 Enhancing Usefulness Conference IV

Recognition Update

Schedule for Recognition Reviews

CHEA Board of Directors


Back Issues

Vol. 3, No. 1

Vol. 2, No. 2
Vol. 2, No. 1

Vol. 1, No. 11
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Vol. 1, No. 9
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Vol. 1, No. 7
Vol. 1, No. 6
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Vol. 1, No. 4
Vol. 1, No. 3
Vol. 1, No. 2
Vol. 1, No. 1

CHEA Federal Relations Update

Senator Robert Kerrey, chair of the Congressional Web-based Education Commission and Judith Eaton, president of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

blue square bullet At the June 22, 2000 CHEA Enhancing Usefulness IV Conference, Senator Robert Kerrey (D-NE) summarized Congressional attitudes toward accreditation when he said that the value of voluntary accreditation for higher education is far more accepted now then it was in 1992. Kerrey's remarks highlighted the progress that voluntary accreditation has made since that date, when there was great deal of concern about accreditation.

Kerrey, who chairs the Congressional Web-based Education Commission ( spoke about the far-reaching change technology is bringing to higher education. The mission of the Commission " to recommend actions to help ensure that all learners have full and equal access to the capabilities of the World Wide Web, and to ensure that online content and learning strategies are affordable and meet the highest standards of educational quality."

CHEA President Judith Eaton testified before the Commission in February and CHEA continues to be involved as well as the Education Department's Distance Education Demonstration Project.

blue square bullet While accreditation has not been the subject of legislative action since the improvements made in the 1998 Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, there have been a number of recent issues and activities involving the Department of Education. These include:

  • An exchange of letters between CHEA and Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education, A. Lee Fritschler, clarifying and reconfirming that "Distance learning is being incorporated into the regular recognition process for accreditors and not being managed as a separate component." The exchange took place following a CHEA-arranged meeting between accreditors and the Assistant Secretary in April, 2000.

  • A CHEA update by Judith Eaton to the National Commission on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) at its May 25, 2000 meeting. Particular emphasis was placed on the capacity of national, regional and specialized accreditation to effectively address assuring quality in distance learning.

  • CHEA participation in a panel discussion held by NACIQI regarding transfer of credit. The panel was organized in response to questions raised during the 1998 reauthorization about the use of "source of accreditation" as a sole basis for denying credit by institutions and the changes technology is bringing to higher education. CHEA's primary message was that federal management of transfer was undesirable and in conflict with longstanding principles of academic freedom and institutional autonomy and independence. CHEA's Committee on Transfer and the Public Interest (a group of chancellors and presidents, accreditors, association executives and higher education researchers that has been meeting since late 1998) will be presenting its recommendations on transfer to the CHEA Board of Directors in September, 2000.

  • CHEA monitoring of emerging concerns of USDE about distance learning that could result in additional (and unwanted) regulation for site-based as well as distance learning providers. An issue raised in the past several months is the "12-hour Rule" that sets expectations of the amount of time students will be engaged in instruction to earn credit hours.


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