CHEA HEA Update Logo Number 34, January 24, 2007


As we are aware, the results of the November 2006 elections mean that the Democrats will now chair the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) and the House Committee on Education and Labor (formerly known as the House Committee on Education and the Workforce). Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) will chair the Senate Committee, Congressman George Miller (D-CA) will chair the House Committee and Rep. Rubén E. Hinojosa (D-Tex.) will chair the renamed Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning and Competitiveness (formerly known as the Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness).

Senate HELP Committee Members for 2007
Edward Kennedy, Chair
Michael Enzi
Christopher Dodd
Judd Gregg
Tom Harkin
Lamar Alexander
Barbara Mikulski
Richard Burr
Jeff Bingaman
Johnny Isakson
Patty Murray
Lisa Murkowski
Jack Reed
Orrin Hatch
Hillary Clinton
Pat Roberts
Barack Obama
Wayne Allard
Bernie Sanders
Tom Coburn
Sherrod Brown
House Committee on Education and Labor
for 2007
George Miller, Chair D CA Buck McKeon R CA
Dale Kildee D MI Thomas Petri* R WI
Donald Payne D NJ Peter Hoekstra R MI
Robert Andrews* D NJ Michael Castle* R DE
Robert Scott* D VA Mark Souder* R IN
Lynn Woolsey D CA Vernon Ehlers* R MI
Rubén Hinojosa* D TX Judy Biggert* R IL
Carolyn McCarthy D NY Todd Platts R PA
John Tierney* D MA Ric Keller* R FL
Dennis Kucinich D OH Joe Wilson R SC
David Wu* D OR John Kline R MN
Rush Holt D NJ Bob Inglis R SC
Susan Davis* D CA Cathy McMorris-Rodgers* R WA
Danny Davis* D IL Kenny Marchant R TX
Raúl Grijalva D AZ Tom Price R GA
Timothy Bishop* D NY Luis Fortuno R PR
Linda Sánchez D CA Charles Boustany R LA
Jason Altmire* D PA Virginia Foxx* R NC
Phil Hare D IL Randy Kuhl* R NY
David Loebsack D IA Rob Bishop R UT
John Sarbanes D MD David Davis R TN
Carol Shea-Porter D NH Timothy Walberg* R MI
John Yarmuth* D KY
Maisie Hirono* D HI
Yvette Clarke D NY  
Joe Sestak D PA
Joe Courtney* D CT

*Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning,
and Competitiveness


We expect HEA to be reintroduced in the Congressional session convening in January 2007. The Senate is likely to introduce a bill that is similar to S. 1614 from the last Congress. Both parties in the Senate worked on this bill as well as other higher education issues. There will likely be an additional focus on funding for higher education.

Based upon what we have heard, the House will introduce a reauthorization of the HEA that is significantly different from the bill in the prior session, H.R. 609. The House has already acted to decrease the interest rates on student loans and increase the maximum Pell Grant in the first 100 legislative hours in the month of January.

We do not expect the change of congressional majorities to result in a change of focus on accreditation and the key issues of accountability and transparency.

As previously reported, the current HEA expires on June 30, 2007.

Negotiated Rulemaking on Title IV Accreditation

The U.S. Department of Education has established a negotiating committee to address Title IV Accreditation issues. The sessions for the Accreditation Team are scheduled from 1:00 to 5:00 on February 21, 9:00 to 5:00 on February 22, and 9:00 to 4:00 on February 23. The committee will convene at the Crystal City Marriott, 1999 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, Virginia, 22202.

A copy of the draft negotiating agenda is below:

Accreditation Committee Draft Agenda

  1. Measures of student achievement
  2. Relationship of process standards to student achievement
  3. Consideration of mission in application of standards
  4. Monitoring of institutions by accrediting organizations
  5. Substantive change
  6. Due process
  7. Transfer of credit
  8. Definition of terms
  9. Technical and process improvements

The Department selected the items for negotiation based on four criteria: 1) the issue can be addressed through regulation, 2) the issue has an identifiable solution, 3) there is a reasonable expectation that we will be able to reach consensus, and 4) the provision is expected to be cost-neutral.

CHEA Board Chair John Wiley, Board Member Paula Peinovich and CHEA President Judith Eaton have been asked to participate in this meeting. The full list of nonfederal accreditation negotiators is below.

Negotiator: Elise Scanlon, Accrediting Commission of Career Schools & Colleges of Technology
Alternate: None

Negotiator: Steve Crow, Higher Learning Commission, North Central Association of Schools & Colleges
Alternate: Ralph Wolff, Western Association of Schools & Colleges

Negotiator: Betty Horton, Council on Accredition of Nurse Anesthesia Education Programs
Alternate: Elaine Cuklanz, Joint Review Committee of Education Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology

Negotiator: John Wiley, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Alternate: Stephen Reno, University System of New Hampshire

Negotiator: Geri Malandra , University of Texas System
Alternate: Keith Boyum, California State University

Negotiator: Gerrit Gong, Brigham Young University
Alternate: Don LeDuc, Thomas M. Cooley Law School

Negotiator: Craig Swenson, Western Governors University
Alternate: Mark L. Pelesh, Coalition for an American Competitive Workforce

Negotiator: Tom Corts, The Alabama College System
Alternate: Elaine Copeland, Clinton Junior College

Negotiator: Thelma Thompson, University of Maryland Eastern Shore
Alternate: None

Negotiator: Paula Peinovich, Walden University
Alternate: Ron Blumenthal, Kaplan University & Kaplan Higher Education

Negotiator: Judith Eaton, Council for Higher Education Accreditation
Alternate: None

Negotiator: John Dew, American Society for Quality
Alternate: Brent Ruben, Center for Organizational Development & Leadership, Rutgers University

November 29, 2006 Department of Education Accreditation Forum

Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings convened an invitational “Accreditation Forum” to address the accreditation recommendations in the report of the Secretary's Commission on the Future of Higher Education such as making outcomes and performance central to accreditation judgments about quality, making accreditation more “transparent” and encouraging comparability or comparisons among similar higher education institutions. Approximately 50 people were invited to the forum. CHEA Board Chair John Wiley, Board Member Paula Peinovich and CHEA President Judith Eaton participated in the meeting. Art Rothkopf, past chair of the CHEA board and member of the Futures Commission, participated as well. The other participants included accreditors, institutional presidents, association representatives, individuals from the research and policy community and employers.

The Department achieved its goal of underscoring its commitment to the report of the Futures Commission—taking a next step toward outcomes and performance, transparency and comparability. The forum also resulted in a strong message from the Department about “external validation” of student achievement, going beyond the efforts of institutions and accrediting organizations.

December 2006 Meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity

The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI), the body that advises the Secretary of Education with regard to the recognition of accrediting organizations, meet on December 4-6, 2006 in Washington, DC. As its first order of business, the committee welcomed Vickie Schray, a key staff member for the Secretary's Commission on the Future of Higher Education, who reported on the November 29 Accreditation Forum. Ms. Schray emphasized the need for more reporting of student learning outcomes and making more accrediting information publicly available. In her comments, she underscored the message about external validation and stressed comparability as well. Ms. Schray also reminded the committee that the Secretary has stated on a number of occasions that she has high expectations with regard to the role that the NACIQI can play in realizing the commission recommendations.

The conduct of the individual reviews of accrediting organizations that were on the committee's agenda made it clear that the committee was indeed focused on the commission recommendations. There was considerable pressure on accrediting organizations to do more with student learning outcomes and a good deal of emphasis on external validation of student achievement. While what is specifically meant here has yet to be laid out, two comments from the meeting were perhaps indicative: “How do we assess the success with regard to student achievement that is reported by institutions?” and “What boundaries need to be set to address mission-driven assessment of quality?”

March 2007 Summit — “A Test of Leadership”

As published in a December 21, 2006 Dear Colleague letter, Secretary Spellings has announced that she is convening a summit to bring higher education, accreditation and many other sectors together to discuss the recommendations of the Futures Commission, including progress to be made, specific responsibilities and actions going forward. As the letter indicates, the Secretary's summit, “A Test of Leadership–Committing to Advance Post-Secondary Education for all Americans,” will “focus on galvanizing action and distributing leadership and accountability across all sectors.” Its work will emphasize five key priorities: “aligning K-12 and higher education expectations; increasing need-based aid; using accreditation to support and emphasize student learning outcomes; serving adults and other non-traditional students; and expanding affordability through increased transparency of costs.” The Department is looking for individuals with experience in these priorities to participate in the forum. The event will be held in Washington, DC, March 21–22, 2007.

New CHEA Publication

With the continued national emphasis on accreditation from both the Secretary of Education and Congress, CHEA has summarized its recommendations, ideas and effective practices from the 13 papers, advisories, and commentaries on outcomes, performance and public information published over the last five years. This new publication Accreditation and Accountability: A CHEA Special Report distills CHEA's prior work in helping institutional and programmatic accrediting organizations show evidence of outcomes and performance and make appropriate information public.

This Update is intended to inform interested parties on developments in the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). Please direct any inquiries or comments to Jan Friis at or to (202) 955-6126.

Copyright 2007, Council for Higher Education Accreditation. All rights reserved.