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Obama Administration Issues Executive Actions, Policy Recommendations for Accreditation

In new guidance released last month, the U.S. Department of Education issued five executive actions and outlined four policy recommendations for members of Congress to consider as they examine the accreditation process and begin weighing reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

Although the guidance is motivated by concerns over institutional accreditors, AACTE will follow developments closely to monitor potential impact on programmatic accreditors, including the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

In the interest of strengthening oversight and transparency in accreditation, the Department plans to post copies of documents relating to accreditation for each institution, arranged by accreditor, in addition to data on “key student and institutional metrics”—to be drawn heavily from the Department’s College Score Card web site.

The four policy recommendations to Congress seek to do the following:

  • Repeal the prohibition preventing the Department from setting expectations regarding student achievement standards.
  • Establish a standardized set of definitions for accreditors to follow when evaluating programs.
  • Mandate that all institutions receiving Title IV funds publish all final accreditation documents relating to institutional and academic quality on a federally maintained web site/database available for public viewing.
  • Require that accreditors work to establish teach-out plans and reserve funds for high-risk institutions.

For more information on the announcement and the administration’s focus on accreditation, please visit www.ed.gov/accreditation.

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Zachary VanHouten

Manager of Programs and Advocacy, AACTE