Inside Accreditation with the President of CHEA

General discussions concerning institutions and degree programs.

Re: Inside Accreditation with the President of CHEA

Postby Sean » Sun Feb 15, 2009 4:46 am

So the University of Atlanta is now a CHEA member you approve of? Do they pay dues?

I saw this:

The University of Atlanta is an accredited member of CHEA. As an accredited, degree-granting, member of the DETC, U of A is also an institutional member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). CHEA is a non-profit organization serving the national advocate for self-regulation through accreditation.

The University of Atlanta ’s nationally accredited stature ensures that you receive a world-class education and a degree that is recognized by leading organizations for excellence and achievement. Such institutional classification ensures that your achievements and credentials retain the strong level of "validity" that employers demand. Accredited online degrees also guarantee that any credits you earn as part of your accredited online degree program will enjoy maximum transferability among most other, credible academic institutions, although such decisions remain at the discretion of the admitting college or university and its correlative programs.
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Re: not quite

Postby g-gollin » Sun Feb 15, 2009 3:37 pm

Sean: "1. What are the percentages of each accreditation providers accredited universities paying dues?"

I do not have those numbers at hand. You should contact CHEA directly to see if the membership data you seek are readily available or would instead need some amount of data analysis to produce.

Sean: "2. Could you compare this to a decade ago?"

I do not have the data at hand, Please contact CHEA.

Sean: "3. How, if they chose to terminate a currently recognized accrediting organization, would would this be so damaging?"

Total loss of recognition by an accreditor would make all the schools it accredits ineligible for receipt of funds through federal student loans held by enrolled students. Many CHEA-recognized acreditors are also recognized by USDE, so the details of the havoc that is wreaked would depend on whether or not USDE also withdrew its recognition. That's only one of the consequences that comes to mind.

Sean: "Are you suggesting that the damages would be so great that termination should never be an option?"

That is not what I wrote: you are making too large an extrapolation.

Sean: "How would this be damaging to 'international higher education?'"

The consequences of the elimination of the recognized accreditation held by a thousand U.S. postsecondary institutions would flow into the international programs of student exchange, foreign student enrollment, research collaborations, etc. etc. that many (most? all?) postsecondary institutions currently support. Big mess.

Sean: "4. I don't need you to re-write anything. I'm just curious about the above before I make my own personal decision."

By "decision" I assume you mean "forming an opinion," as opposed to "selecting a program in which to enroll."
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Re: Inside Accreditation with the President of CHEA

Postby g-gollin » Sun Feb 15, 2009 3:45 pm

Sean: "So the University of Atlanta is now a CHEA member you approve of?"

Did you notice that the ownership of this institution changed as it was morphing from Barrington into University of Atlanta? DETC would be the best source of information about the details of the accreditation process, although some of this will remain internal to U of A and DETC.

Sean: "Do they pay dues?"

I assume so. The dues structure depends on things like the size of a school's enrollment. I don't know what U of A would be expected to pay as dues.
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Re: Inside Accreditation with the President of CHEA

Postby Hungry Ghost » Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:14 pm

g-gollin wrote:An interesting Washington conection, in case you were unaware of it: Ms. Neal is married to Congressman Thomas Petri, the representative from the Wisconsin 6th district.

No, I didn't know that. The woman certainly seemed to be connected though, in Republican circles, so it doesn't totally surprise me.
I heard Ms. Neal speak on the subject of accreditation last year. She proposed having the states become entirely responsible for quality assurance oversight. That's naive: we see how wide the variation in state oversight is right now, and many states would be hard pressed to find the resources to do it significantly better than they already do. Look at the mess in California, for example.

Oh man... as a former defender of California approval, California's currently abject state is sad to see.

In Sacramento it's just an occasion for political posturing. Their big issue is whether Phoenix and DeVry-style Mc-universities should be given an exemption from state oversight. The engines driving that confrontation are lobbyists and corporate lawyers on one side, and faculty labor groups on the other. It's all about adjuncts.

None of these people care a whole lot about regulating the roughly 2,000 non-degree-granting post-secondary schools in the state. Only little people attend the business-skills, ESL and truck-driving schools, so that isn't really a pressing concern. And policing internet degree-mills? Really, who would enroll in a distance learning program?

That's a little strong perhaps, but it's certainly the impression that I get from ACTA and from Ann Neal as well.

Neal has never that I'm aware of acknowledged the existence of degree-mills and their huge customer base. She never acknowledges the accreditors' real value out here on the street, for both students and employers, in simply differentiating credible higher education from the mills. So she's quite comfortable counseling prospective students and their parents to disregard accreditation entirely when making school choices. Certainly nobody that she associates with would consider a DL school.

Since regional accreditation includes lower-prestige colleges, and since it doesn't screen out highly left-politicized programs in pop subjects, she can't really see much point in anyone paying any attention to it.
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Re: Inside Accreditation with the President of CHEA

Postby Hungry Ghost » Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:39 pm

Sean wrote:Interesting.

Do you think this is why it seems that some of the non-regional accreditation agencies have grown in size and power since 2001?

I don't think that I accept your premise. The various accreditors still occupy pretty much the same relative positions, the same ecological niches. If ACTA wanted to shake that up, they haven't succeeded.

There has been an interesting group of high-end research institutions choosing NY-Regents accreditation over RA. But that's a NY-specific development and I doubt that it has anything to do with Ann Neal's issues. My guess is that NY simply offered these schools an easier and more streamlined accreditation procedure that still gets them whatever eligibility for funding recognized accreditation includes. These schools don't really need institutional accreditation as a mark of credibility, since their reputations take care of that.
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ACTA, Ann Neal, diploma mills

Postby g-gollin » Sun Feb 15, 2009 7:01 pm

Hungry Ghost wrote:Neal has never that I'm aware of acknowledged the existence of degree-mills and their huge customer base.


Ms. Neal gave a plenary session presentation at the CHEA Annual Meeting last year. Her points included these: the states should assume control of higher education oversight, and that (federally recognized) accreditors should not serve as gatekeepers between federal funds (for student loans) and postsecondary institutions, but rather the states' approval should fill that function.

At the end of her presentation I made a comment about the difficulties the states were having in swatting out of existence the various diploma mills they detect, since the mills move so easily to another state with lax rules. I think I described the St. Regis footprint as a concrete example of the problem. My impression, from her answer, was that she knew about diploma mills but they were not a higher ed issue that she wanted to stand in the way of her advocacy for deregulation and dissolution of federal quality assurance efforts.
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