CHEA and Accrediting Organizations Comment on NACIQI Draft Final Report on Accreditation

Publication Number 25 March 21, 2012

CHEA and Accrediting Organizations Comment on NACIQI Draft Final Report on Accreditation

On March 16, 2012, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), joined by 29 recognized accrediting organizations, submitted comments to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) on the committee's draft final report on accreditation considerations for the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

NACIQI is the federal advisory body that provides recommendations to the Secretary of Education on the recognition of accrediting organizations. In December 2010, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan requested that NACIQI develop recommendations regarding the current system of recognition and accreditation. NACIQI's draft final report, issued on February 8, 2012, outlined a range of recommendations in areas including the role of federal and state governments in quality assurance, the role and scope of accrediting organizations, data as an essential tool in quality assurance and public information and NACIQI's role as a federal advisory body.

The comments to NACIQI make the case that some of the recommendations in the draft final report may lead to a more active role by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) in the practices of accreditation, as well as a federal standardization of expectations of academic quality. The comments urge NACIQI to reconsider a number of the recommendations contained in the report and note that many proposals to further strengthen accreditation have been put forward by the accreditation community.

NACIQI will meet by teleconference on April 13, 2012 to discuss the draft final report and to hear public comments. It is anticipated that NACIQI will send final recommendations to the Secretary of Education in late Spring, 2012.


A second session of USDE's negotiated rulemaking committee addressing Teacher Preparation Issues met February 27-29, 2012 in Washington, DC. "Negotiated rulemaking" is a process by which the federal government consults with key constituents as part of drafting or revising regulations that implement legislation passed by Congress (in this case, the Higher Education Act). USDE also is holding a negotiated rulemaking on Student Loans (see CHEA Federal Update #22).

At the February meeting, the negotiated rulemaking committee focused on issues including the TEACH Grant Program and assessment and reporting requirements on teacher education program quality. The committee considered draft regulatory language, as well as draft "report cards" to be used by states and institutions in reporting to USDE on the quality of teacher preparation.

A final meeting of the negotiated rulemaking committee on Teacher Preparation Issues will take place March 26-30, 2012 in Washington, DC.


Legislation to repeal regulations that establish a federal definition of credit hour and create new requirements for state authorization - S. 1297 - is unlikely to be considered by the U.S. Senate this year. The bill was introduced on June 29, 2011 by Senator Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) and currently has 24 Democrat and Republican cosponsors. The legislation was referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, chaired by Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), on the day of its introduction. No action on the bill has been scheduled by the HELP Committee.

Similar legislation - H.R. 2117 - was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on February 28, 2012 by a bipartisan vote of 303 to 114.