CHEA Comments on Accreditation Provisions in House Democrats' HEA Reauthorization Bill

Publication Number 84 October 25, 2019


On October 24, 2019, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) provided comments to the leadership of the House Committee on Education and Labor in response to the College Affordability Act (H.R. 4674) introduced last week by committee Democrats to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA) and overhaul major features of U.S. higher education. An education committee markup (review and vote to approve) of the bill is anticipated to take place next week.

In a letter to Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Virginia), Chair of the Committee and Virginia Foxx (R-North Carolina), Ranking Member of the Committee, CHEA President Judith Eaton said that the bill would be a major expansion of federal authority into accreditation and institutions, replacing academic judgment and decision making. The bill also directs how accrediting organizations are to operate, diminishing the academic oversight of these nongovernmental bodies. The bill takes a major step toward undermining the role that institutional mission plays as the driver of accreditation judgments. Eaton also noted the increased difficulty of sustaining peer review and formative evaluation in judging the quality of institutions in the face of the bill’s provisions. CHEA does not support the bill’s accreditation provisions in their current form, but also indicates CHEA’s willingness to work with lawmakers to improve these provisions.



(click image to view or download the letter)

In addition to contact with leadership, key members and staff of the House education committee, CHEA will follow the bill’s progress closely and will keep CHEA members and accreditation stakeholders informed as developments warrant.