More Light on Accreditation

DC Shuttle …

Education Department Announces New Rules for Accreditors. The U.S. Education Department announced “a series of executive actions to improve accreditors’ and the department’s oversight activities and move toward a new focus on student outcomes and transparency.” The announcement included executive actions and recommended legislative reform, focusing on transparency, that officials said will force accreditors to focus more on student outcomes and hold failing colleges accountable. Under Secretary Ted Mitchell said the steps will help make a “substantial difference” in how accreditors work. The department hopes to drive change by publishing and disseminating information about accreditors and the colleges they oversee on a revamped department web page. The department will publish the standards that accreditors use to assess institutions and try to compare the measurements used. The actions call for a streamlined accreditation process for some colleges, a more uniform set of definitions and data that accreditors report to the Education Department, and making public the documents related to final accreditation decisions regarding individual colleges, the Chronicle of Higher Educationreports. The accrediting agencies will now submit decision letters to the Education Department to be published online when they put institutions on probation. Read more in the Washington Post. The actions are less aggressive than anticipated, and the administration said that it was significantly constrained by a congressional ban on the Education Department setting specific accreditation standards involving student outcomes, according to Inside Higher Ed.

Bill Introduced to Reinstate GI Bill Benefits for Former Corinthian Students. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced the Veterans Education Relief and Reinstatement Act (S.2253), which would reinstate GI Bill benefits for veterans who attended Corinthian Colleges, which closed unexpectedly in the spring. Representatives Mark Takano (D-CA) and Chris Gibson (R-NY) introduced a companion bill in the House, reports. Once GI Bill benefits are used by a veteran, the VA says it doesn’t have the authority to reset GI Bill benefits, even in cases where a college has closed and students can’t transfer their credits. The bill would grant that authority and would allow monthly educational assistance payments, including a housing allowance, to continue through the end of a term, quarter or semester in which an institution closes, or up to four months from the date of the closure, whichever is sooner.

Open License Regulation Proposed by Ed Department.

The Department of Education proposed a new regulation that would require any new intellectual property developed with grant funds from the department to be openly licensed. has more here.

We publish the DC Shuttle each week featuring higher ed news from Washington collected by the New England Council, of which NEBHE is a member. This edition is drawn from the Higher Education Update in the Council’s Weekly Washington Report of Nov. 9, 2015. For more information, please visit:


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