|Number 15, March 31, 2011|
Issues related to higher education accreditation have received considerable attention recently on Capitol Hill and at the U.S. Department of Education (USDE). This Federal Update provides an overview of the many activities affecting accreditation in recent weeks.
HEARINGS ON ISSUES RELATED TO HIGHER EDUCATION AND ACCREDITATION
Several recent hearings by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives addressed higher education and accreditation. The Senate hearings concentrated on for-profit higher education and accreditation‘s oversight of for-profit institutions and programs, while the House hearings focused on the burden new federal regulations pose for colleges and universities as well as accrediting organizations.
COMMUNITY LETTERS TO USDE ON PROGRAM INTEGRITY RULES
Higher education associations and accrediting organizations worked together to draft and send several letters to USDE concerning the Department’s final program integrity rules. The community letters included positions taken by CHEA in comments to USDE submitted on July 29, 2010.
USDE “Dear Colleague” Letters on Program Integrity Final Rules
In March, USDE issued two “Dear Colleague” letters, addressing various aspects of the final program integrity rules.
Both of the “Dear Colleague” letters leave a number of questions unanswered and contain language that presents new questions regarding interpretation of the final regulations. USDE is expected to provide information on other provisions of the program integrity regulations in additional “Dear Colleague” letters.
Senate Letter to USDE on Program Integrity Final Rules
Seventeen Republican members of the U.S. Senate sent a letter on March 23, 2011 to USDE Secretary Arne Duncan to request that the Department withdraw the final program integrity rules, saying the new regulations will negatively affect post-secondary education. The letter asked USDE to work with Congress to ensure that program integrity regulations do not unfairly affect academic independence.
MInnesota Higher Education Advisory committee letter to senate
In a letter sent on March 22, 2011 to Senator John Kline, Chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, members of the Minnesota Higher Education Advisory Committee expressed concern regarding USDE’s expanded state authorization requirements addressing online programs. The letter requested that Congress seek a delay of implementation of the regulations until July 1, 2013.
CHEA will continue to urge that credit hour and state authorization provisions be removed from the final program integrity rules. We will keep member institutions and recognized accrediting organizations informed on all developments related to these new regulations and the ongoing Congressional attention to accreditation.
The Federal Update informs CHEA members
and interested parties on federal policy developments related to
self-regulation and peer review. Please direct any inquiries or comments
to Jan Friis, CHEA Vice President for Government Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (202) 955-6126.