The Education Department on Thursday finalized rules to loosen standards for the college accreditation process, drawing criticism from Democrats.
The new rules, which The Washington Post first reported, will go into effect next July. Under the new system, schools with problems that endanger their accreditation will have four years, up from two, to address issues, while accreditation agencies will no longer be required to inform students of said issues.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosEducation Department finalizes new regulations to relax college-accreditation requirements Students show decline in Nation’s Report Card A better way to reduce student loan debt MORE called the new rules “necessary to bring higher education into the current century.”
“These reforms are necessary to bring higher education into the current century, to be more responsive to the needs of students, and to reduce the skyrocketing cost of higher education,” she told the Post. “Accreditation has played a role in the bloat that has taken place in higher education administration, and it is time to right-size bureaucracy and allow institutions to redirect their resources to students and teaching.”
Rep. Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottEducation Department finalizes new regulations to relax college-accreditation requirements Trump admin gave over million in aid to students at unaccredited for-profit colleges CBO: Pelosi bill to lower drug prices saves Medicare 5 billion MORE (D-Va.), chairman of the House Education Committee, blasted the finalized rules in a statement to the newspaper, calling them an “effort to weaken accreditation standards” for schools and colleges.
“The Education Department’s effort to weaken accreditation standards highlights the need for Congress to pass legislation that holds schools accountable for students’ success,” he said. “The department is undermining a key driver of institutional accountability.”
Democrats are pushing their own legislation to strengthen federal oversight of the accreditation process, though it faces an uphill battle in the GOP-controlled Senate.
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