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August 16, 2016
Contact: Tim Willard
(202) 372-9258 /

CHEA Quality Platform to Serve as Quality Assurance Entity in
EQUIP Program, U.S. Department of Education Announces

(Washington, DC) The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) and StraighterLine, a U.S. company that offers low-price, online higher education courses, will participate in the U.S. Department of Education’s (USDE) Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships (EQUIP) program, USDE announced today.

straighterlineCHEA will serve as a Quality Assurance Entity (QAE), reviewing student outcomes and other information to assure the quality of joint StraighterLine/DCCCD educational offerings. To carry out its role as a QAE, CHEA will use its Quality Platform, a new form of quality review for new forms of higher education.

“CHEA is pleased to be working with the Dallas Community Colleges and StraighterLine on this important project,” said CHEA President Judith Eaton. “The Quality Platform is part of CHEA providing leadership for change and innovation in accreditation to meet student needs.”

dcdd“DCCCD’s partnership with StraighterLine and CHEA under the EQUIP program offers financial aid opportunities that students didn’t have until now,” noted DCCCD Chancellor Dr. Joe May.

straighterlineBurck Smith, StraighterLine CEO and founder, said “The EQUIP program validates the potential for new providers to help solve tough problems like tuition escalation, inconsistent credit transferability, low retention rates and high levels of student debt and default.”

DCCCD and StraighterLine will offer two associate degree programs where StraighterLine delivers up to 75 percent of the coursework. These programs will primarily serve students who have attended some college but have not yet obtained a credential.

As part of the EQUIP program, QAEs will determine the quality of a program using measures based on student outcomes, coupled with regular monitoring. Participating institutions that work with innovative providers must be accredited by a federally recognized accreditor and the accreditor must agree to include the offerings resulting from the partnership in the institution's grant of accreditation.

The CHEA Quality Platform is an outcomes-based review of the quality of innovative providers, focused on what students learn as central to judging quality. Launched in 2013, CHEA has already successfully piloted the Quality Platform in China.

“EQUIP is a wonderful opportunity for the CHEA Quality Platform to expand our work here in the United States and to embrace productive partnerships such as StraighterLine and the Dallas Community Colleges,” Eaton stated.

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A national advocate and institutional voice for academic quality through accreditation, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) is an association of 3,000 degree-granting colleges and universities and recognizes approximately 60 institutional and programmatic accrediting organizations.

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