USDE Secretary of Education briefs House Education Committee on USDE policies and priorities

Publication Number 65 June 1, 2018

In This Issue:


DeVosOn May 22, 2018, U.S. Department of Education (USDE) Secretary Betsy DeVos testified at a House Committee on Education and the Workforce hearing on “Examining the Policies and Priorities of the U.S. Department or Education.” (Click here to view an archived Webcast of the hearing.) In her remarks, Secretary DeVos stated that the “outdated Higher Education Act is holding our students – and by extension our nation – back.” She stated that USDE is in the process of comprehensively reviewing current regulations and guidance to ensure that they are “relevant, necessary and in the best interests of students.” She noted that USDE has begun rulemakings on two rules – borrower defense to repayment and gainful employment – and said that the proposed revised regulations will be published for public comment soon.


The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) met in Arlington, Virginia on May 22-24, 2018. NACIQI is the advisory body that provides recommendations to the Secretary of Education on recognition of accrediting organizations. Recognition by USDE affirms that the standards and processes of accrediting organizations and state accreditation approval agencies demonstrate compliance with USDE's criteria. In advance of the meeting, USDE issued staff reports for all of the organizations scheduled for review.

NACIQI recommended renewal of recognition for five years for:

  • The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Accreditation
  • The Accreditation Council on Optometric Education
  • The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs
  • The Liaison Committee on Medical Education
  • The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • The Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools Accreditation Commission, including approval of the Commission’s request for an expansion of scope of recognition to include the accreditation of Associate Degrees

The Committee did not accept the USDE staff recommendation of renewal of recognition for five years of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, Commission on Accreditation but instead recommended that the organization’s recognition be deferred, with a compliance report due in 12 months.

NACIQI recommended renewal of recognition for three years for:

  • Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar, The American Bar Association
  • The American Osteopathic Association Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation
  • The American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation
  • The Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools Accreditation Commission

The Committee recommended deferral of recognition for one year of the Puerto Rico State Agency for the Approval of Postsecondary, Vocational, Technical Institutions and Programs, with an additional six months if needed, in acknowledgment of the continuing impact of Hurricane Maria.

The Committee received a briefing by Diane Auer Jones, USDE’s Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary (see “In Brief” below), on reducing the regulatory burden on accreditation and heard third-party comments on oversight of the conversion of for-profit institutions to non-profit entities. NACIQI voted to establish a subcommittee to study oversight issues related to for-profit to non-profit conversions. Earlier this year, several U.S. Senate Democrats asked NACIQI to look at this issue (click here to read letter).

Complete information on recommendations by the Committee will be available when the transcript of the meeting is released by USDE. NACIQI’s recommendations now go to a USDE senior department official for final approval.

Accreditation and Federal Policy 2018: An Invitational Summer Roundtable
June 20, 2018 • Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill • Washington, DC


Accreditation and Federal Policy 2018 is a one-day roundtable focusing on the latest policy developments, including legislation and federal regulations,affecting higher education accreditation.

The Invitational Roundtable--this year's CHEA/CIQG summer event--is open to CHEA member institutions and CHEA- and U.S. Department of Education-recognized accrediting organizations.

Click here for more information, including a registration form and link to the conference hotel for reservations.

Senators request that government accountability office (GAO) examine issue of for-profit to non-profit conversions

GAO sealThree U.S. Senators have asked the GAO to examine the issue of for-profit higher education institutions converting to non-profit entities. In their April 2, 2018 letter, Senators Patty Murray (D-Washington), Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) and Margaret Hassan (D-New Hampshire) asked that the GAO review how the Internal Revenue Service, USDE and accrediting organizations evaluate conversion requests and that GAO assess “what previous conversions tell us about the benefits and risks to students and taxpayers of these conversions.”


USDE sealOn May 25, 2018, USDE published a Federal Register notice proposing to delay the effective date for implementation of state authorization regulations – currently July 1, 2018 – for two years. The regulations require that distance education programs be approved to operate in each state where they enroll students. The delay will enable USDE to hear from the regulated community and students about concerns they have with the rules and to consider, through negotiated rulemaking, possible revisions to the final regulations. There will be a 15-day public comment period on the proposed delay; comments must be submitted by June 11, 2018 via the Federal eRulemaking Portal (


  • The U.S. Senate confirmed Mitchell Zais as USDE Deputy Secretary on May 15, 2018. He was nominated to the position by the President on October 5, 2017. Zais served as South Carolina Superintendent of Education from 2011 to 2015. Previously, he was president of Newberry College for 10 years.
  • Diane Auer Jones was named Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education at USDE in March, 2018. She previously served as Assistant Secretary of Education in the George W. Bush administration. Jones had served as a Senior Policy Advisor at the Department of Labor since late 2017. Prior to rejoining the government, she had been a Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute.
  • Congressman Jim Banks (R-Indiana) was selected by the House Republican Conference to serve on the Committee on Education and the Workforce. He also will serve on the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development. He replaced Congressman Paul Mitchell (R-Michigan), who moved to the House Armed Services Committee. Banks began serving in Congress in 2017, following service in the Indiana State Senate from 2010 to 2016.