The Department of Education released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking last week to convene more negotiated rulemaking committees. This time the Department plans to take up issues related to a number of issues related to accreditation, distance education modalities and faith based education. Among the specific issues they aim to address, the Department plans to hold several negotiated rulemaking sessions to discuss
- Requirements for accrediting agencies in their oversight of member institutions;
- Requirements for accrediting agencies to honor institutional mission;
- Criteria used by the Secretary to recognize accrediting agencies, emphasizing criteria that focus on educational quality;
- Developing a single definition for purposes of measuring and reporting job placement rates; and
- Simplifying the Department’s process for recognition and review of accrediting agencies.
- Additionally the committee will take up issues related to State Authorization, Definition of a Credit Hour, the Definition of Regular and Substantive Interaction.
Public comments and recommendations are open until September 14, 2018.
The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) has filed an Application for Initial Recognition with the U.S. Department of Education. The accrediting agency lost recognition in 2016 after several of its member institutions were shut down amid scandals involving fraud and abuse.
ACICS will be on the agenda for the Spring 2018 National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) meeting. The meeting date has not been determined but will be announced in a Federal Register notice soon. The OPE has put out a call for written third-party comments which you can access here.
Transitioning ACICS school’s waiting for site visits received some relief when the Department of Education’s School Eligibility Service Group extended the deadline until February 28, 2018, however, all schools must have obtained an affirmative approval of accreditation from a recognized accreditor by the June 12, 2018, statutory deadline.
According to a piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education, by Adam Harris and Eric Kelderman, “The department’s actions have raised the prospect that it may decide to restore the embattled accreditor’s eligibility. “
The Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA) and the Accrediting Commission of Career Colleges and Schools (ACCSC) have announced that the two organizations have entered into a management agreement for the purpose of strengthening COMTA organizational resources and exploring opportunities to develop a joint institutional and programmatic accreditation process.
While both accrediting agencies remain as separate, autonomous agencies with each maintaining separate recognition with the U.S. Department of Education; COMTA will contract many of its management activities through ACCSC, such as accounting, administrative staff, travel, and human resources. According to the joint press release, the management agreement will allow both organizations to work closely together to develop a singular joint accreditation process that will yield both institutional and programmatic accreditation status for schools with massage therapy and esthetics programs; and allows COMTA to streamline its operational processes with ACCSC strong infrastructure, thereby allowing the COMTA Commission to better serve its member schools and advocate as the massage therapy and esthetics professions’ sole specialized accrediting agency.
You can read the COMTA/ACCSC press release here: http://bit.ly/2pvLPVD
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The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality. Accrediting agencies, which are private educational associations of regional or national scope, develop evaluation criteria and conduct peer evaluations to assess whether or not those criteria are met. Institutions and/or programs that request an agency’s evaluation and that meet an agency’s criteria are then “accredited” by that agency.
Depending on a number of factors, the process of obtaining initial accreditation can take up to two years for national accreditation and up to four or more years for regional accreditation. Choosing an appropriate accreditor is an important first step and one that should be taken with due care, as not all accrediting agencies are created equal. Continue reading Considering Accreditation? Nine Questions To Ask Yourself