Trump administration wants flexibility for accreditors and to encourage alternative providers


January 7, 2019

The Education Department’s proposals for upcoming negotiated rule-making process would narrow the responsibilities of accreditors and modify federal definitions for credit hour and distance education.

In a package of highly detailed proposals set to be released today, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos delivers on a promise to limit the authority and scope of higher education accreditors, the organizations that serve as gatekeepers for federal student aid.

The Trump administration wants to clarify that the Education Department — and not accreditors — is responsible for enforcing federal student aid rules, and would give the agencies more latitude to approve and encourage innovative programs, particularly ones featuring online or competency-based education. The proposals, which Inside Higher Ed obtained (see box) and which are set to be released today, would lower the bar new accrediting agencies would have to clear for federal approval and give colleges more latitude to make changes without their accreditor’s permission.

However, the department also wants to restrict the scope of (continue reading…)