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Policymakers | Accreditation

Why Accreditation Doesn’t Work and What Policymakers Can Do About It

January 1, 2007 Download PDF Press Release

This policy paper is intended as a primer for policymakers on lessons learned from decades of experience with the federal system of higher education accreditation. It streamlines, updates, and expands ACTA’s 2002 investigation, Can College Accreditation Live Up to Its Promise? At that time we found that accreditation did not ensure quality, was not protecting the curriculum from serious degradation, and was giving students, parents, and public decision-makers almost no useful information about institutions of higher education. Recounting recent stories from the “front lines,” our new investigation finds that things have only become worse. Congress rightly wants to ensure that federal student aid funds do not go to “fly by night” operations. But there are other and better ways to achieve that result, and they are outlined in this publication.

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Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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