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DeVos Announces Accreditation Regulations Amid Criticism

The U.S. Department of Education has released the final set of regulations for college accreditation and state authorization.

Last week, Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the publication of final accreditation and state authorization distance education regulations, which will make the higher education sector “more responsive to the needs of students, and to reduce the skyrocketing cost of higher education.”

The regulations, which will take effect on July 1, 2020, will create opportunities for new accreditors and end distinctions between accreditors based on the geographic area. It will also speed up the approval of new programs and curricular changes and empower employers to help engage more actively in program development and review.

“Accreditation has played a role in the bloat that has taken place in higher education administration, and it is time to right size bureaucracy and allow institutions to redirect their resources to students and teaching,” DeVos said in a release.

The department said the new rules will provide students with more options to pursue a higher education credential of value, transfer credits between institutions, and qualify for career advancement.

However, many, including Senator Patty Murray, believe that the regulations would weaken the oversight and lower the standards for college accreditation

Murray mentioned six different reasons for his opposition to the finalized regulations which include weakening standards by which accreditors evaluate institutions, enable bad actors to profit off of failing institutions on students’ and taxpayers’ money among others.

“Every student attending college or university deserves a quality education. Secretary DeVos’ latest rule undermines quality assurance and oversight of higher education and gives predatory for-profit colleges a free pass to take advantage of students and taxpayers,” Murray said.

“Bottom line, this rule will hurt students—and every family should be appalled at Secretary DeVos’ attempt to make it easier for institutions to use taxpayer dollars to take advantage of students,” he added.

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