Higher Education Associations and Accrediting Organizations Comment on NACIQI Draft Report on Accreditation

Publication Number 20 December 1, 2011

Higher Education Associations and Accrediting Organizations Comment on NACIQI Draft Report on Accreditation

In December 2010, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan requested that the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) develop accreditation-related recommendations in advance of the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (expected in 2013). NACIQI's main function is to advise the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) on recognition of accrediting organizations.

In response to this request, NACIQI released a draft report on October 18, 2011, offering various perspectives on accreditation and outlining a range of policy considerations and possible recommendations that the Committee may make. Noting that NACIQI is considering "what is working (and not working)" in the current system of recognition and accreditation, the draft discussed several directions that NACIQI policy recommendations might take, including options related to maintaining the gatekeeping link between accreditation and the federal government, modifying this link or removing the link.

USDE published a Federal Register notice on November 1, 2011, inviting the public to make comments or suggestions on the draft. The notice stated that NACIQI intends to post all the comments received on the draft report to the NACIQI Website. To date, comments have not been posted.

On November 22, 2011, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) submitted comments to NACIQI on the draft report. The letter from CHEA focuses on the accreditation-federal government relationship.

CHEA also coordinated a letter that was sent to NACIQI on November 23, 2011, commenting on a number of the options discussed in the draft report. The letter was signed by CHEA, the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors and 27 recognized accrediting organizations, including regional, national faith-related, national career-related and programmatic accreditors.

The American Council on Education (ACE) coordinated a letter to which CHEA contributed and signed. The letter was also signed by the American Association of Community Colleges, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the Association of American Universities and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. Sent to NACIQI on November 22, 2011, the letter offered observations on the draft report.

The draft report will be considered at NACIQI's December 14-16, 2011 meeting in Alexandria, Virginia. CHEA President Judith Eaton will offer comments at the meeting.