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Number 21, December 19, 2011




The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) met on December 14-16, 2011 in Alexandria, Virginia. NACIQI is the federal advisory body that provides recommendations to the Secretary of Education on the recognition of accrediting organizations.


The meeting featured a lengthy discussion of a NACIQI draft report on accreditation policy considerations for the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, likely to get underway in 2013. The committee's discussion addressed the 33 policy options outlined, with particular focus on the gatekeeping function of accreditation, data gathering, transparency, gradations in accreditation, sector accreditation and NACIQI's future policy role.


A number of non-binding "straw" votes were taken to gauge committee members' interest in various options. Straw votes will be conducted among those who did not attend the meeting. A final report will be issued by NACIQI in Spring, 2012, preceded by a public conference call to discuss the report and a call for comment.


Those making scheduled oral presentations at the NACIQI meeting were: Judith Eaton, President of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA); Joyce Rechtschaffen, Director of Government Affairs, Princeton University; Vickie Schray, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Bridgepoint Education; Joseph Vibert, Executive Director, Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors; and Ralph Wolff, President and Executive Director, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities.


Prior to the meeting, CHEA submitted a letter to NACIQI commenting on the draft report, coordinated a letter signed by CHEA, the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors and 27 recognized accrediting organizations and, with several higher education associations, signed a letter coordinated by the American Council on Education. Written comments received by NACIQI are available on the U.S. Department of Education's (USDE) Website.


At the meeting, NACIQI reviewed compliance reports and considered petitions for renewal of recognition for 15 accrediting bodies, including regional and national accreditors and several state higher education authorities. USDE staff reports with recommendations to NACIQI are available on the USDE Website. The meeting also included a presentation by Jamie Merisotis, President and CEO of the Lumina Foundation, on the foundation's Degree Qualifications Profile and "Goal 2025" Initiatives.  


NACIQI Chair Jamienne Studley, Vice Chair Arthur Rothkopf and Susan Phillips, Chair of NACIQI’s Reauthorization Subcommittee, will speak on January 25, 2012 at the CHEA Annual Conference.



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 or at (202) 955-6126.

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