The agencies that accredit post-secondary institutions would be required to take extra measures under a new bill that seeks to protect students from falling victim to abrupt closure of colleges.
Introduced by Donna Shalala (FL-27), Peter King (NY-02), and Sean Casten (IL-06), the bipartisan legislation, known as the Stop College Closures Act of 2019, requires accreditors to take students complaints against institutions seriously and submitting such complaints to the Secretary and state agency.
It also calls for monitoring the institutions that experienced decline during the previous accreditation period.
“When colleges and universities unexpectedly shutter, students are often cheated out of years of hard work and thousands of dollars with nothing to show for it,” Rep. Shalala said.
“It is the accreditors’ job to ensure institutions have the proper procedures in place to act in the best interest of our students and maintain the integrity of the accreditation process. Spotting the warning signs of potential school closure as early as possible is critical to avoiding the worst possible outcome.”
The bill would also make it mandatory for accreditors who see signs of potential school closure to review teach-out plans and agreements of such institutions.
Many colleges and universities across the nation have either closed or are currently on the verge of closure due to a steep decline in enrollments and weak finances. Recently, Marygrove College and Midstate College announced closure due to similar circumstances.
Western Illinois University’s president Jack Thomas announced his resignation after he couldn’t improve its enrollment numbers and struggled to place the campus on sound financial footing.