ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

Is the Trump administration signaling growing interest in higher ed policy?

Education Dive
August 13, 2018 by James Paterson

Dive Brief:

  • The Trump administration is apparently taking a greater interest in higher education policy — and specifically accreditation, according to Inside Higher Education.
  • An office led by Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law, has held a series of meetings with officials from the Department of Education, higher education organizations and researchers, supposedly as part of new rule making related to accrediting bodies having control over federal student aid.
  • The administration has not been very active in higher education policy, but the meetings signal an interest in considering changes in accreditation policy to require colleges and universities show how they are successful in creating graduates with skills employers want.

Dive Insight:

The participants in the most recent meeting with Kushner included representatives of Strada, formerly USA Funds, which has been involved in efforts to incorporate business interests more often in accreditation. Participants also included representatives from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a group that has long advocated for accreditation reform. 

Experts reported that both Congress and the Department of Education are interested in reforming the accreditation policy. The Higher Education Reform and Opportunity Act (HERO) is an effort by the House of Representatives to address this issue and give more power to states to establish private accreditation systems.

Conservatives have suggested that the accreditation policy limits competition and increases the cost of college.

Opponents to those suggestions say that interests outside of higher education don't understand how the process works and that what the accrediting community values in its process is not the same as those who want change. There also are suggestions that accrediting entities have not done enough to explain their function or change and be innovative.