One outcome of the student debt crisis is the demand for more data on just how well America’s colleges and universities are doing when it comes to graduation rates, accumulated student loan debt, post graduation earnings and loan repayment rates. Accreditors - those agencies responsible for providing that data- have come under scrutiny by the US Department of Education and a new report of their findings was released on June 20th 2016.
Paul Fain, writer for Inside Higher Education provides an overview of the results in a post called Scorecard for Accreditors. The original request for this evaluation data came from the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) who wanted to develop a “more systematic approach to considering student achievement and other outcome and performance metrics in the hearings for agencies that come before it.” This request, as Fain points out, comes at a time when the Obama administration has asked that the accrediting agencies, “take a more aggressive consumer protection role, with a focus on student outcomes and more scrutiny for troubled colleges.”
The report comes in the wake of a recent Department of Education recommendation that NACIQI no longer recognize the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools which oversees some 245 institutions. Fain notes that the report which presents the results in a visual dashboard, is not dissimilar to the College Scorecard. And while the report is unlikely to be viewed by students and families, “policy makers and NACIQI probably will consult them when weighing in on whether accreditors have been adequate stewards of federal financial aid” The report will allow for a comparison of the agencies and their effectiveness.
To illustrate how such a comparison might look and how it might be used, Inside Higher Ed includes a link to a table comparing accreditors on a number of specific data points.
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