Accreditors faces allegations of conflicted interest
- The Wall Street Journal reveals that more than 60% of accrediting organizations overseeing university compliance are staffed by employees of schools which they review.
- One out of every three commissioners of the 332 positions reviewed among 15 accrediting agencies serves as a college president, bringing into question the integrity of reviewing processes among those who review schools, who could do favors for those who remove themselves from potential conflicts in return for reciprocal assessment.
- Commissioners call the criticism of accreditation standards unfair, suggesting that niche missions and efforts to reach underserved students frequently create metrics which may border on non-compliance with certain standards, but far exceeds others in academic access and execution.
First, the criticism of accreditation personnel for ties to schools would seem to be off-base, considering that people who do not work within higher education would have a difficult time understanding, reviewing and making recommendations about how higher education principles of administration are being adhered to or ignored. Second, the nature of accreditation was not designed to promote postgraduate outcomes, but to establish a set of standards which ensure equity and sustainability of the higher education enterprise.
It is not clear what the future of accreditation will become in light of federal rulemaking on financial aid disbursements and assessment, but deregulation of higher education through marginalizing common standards will not only increase the chances of more predatory institutions operating without impunity, but could put undue stress on systems of college funding and the job market, which is already in flux.
- Wall Street Journal College accreditors largely staffed by employees of schools they oversee
- Education Dive Graduation rates at core of potential accreditation overhaul