Accreditation, innovation, and transparency in higher education

The Department of Education is engaged currently in a negotiated rule making process regarding accreditation in higher education. The issues under discussion are complex, but the principles undergirding them—and the strategies that policymakers can employ to achieve stronger outcomes for students and taxpayers—are relatively simple.

Senior research fellow for higher education Alana Dunagan, and co-founder Michael B. Horn highlight two key dynamics that put current accreditation at odds with innovations that expand access, tackle affordability, and increase the value of American higher education. They also provide recommendations to design an accreditation system that is friendlier to innovation across new instructional models and/or new business models in higher education.

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Online for-profit college faces accreditation rejection, shareholder lawsuit

Ashford’s dropout rate since 2007 is 50 percent.

Ashford University, one of the country’s fastest growing online for-profit schools, is fighting to remain accredited while investors are suing the university’s parent company for an elaborate insider trading scheme and alleged violations of financial filings with the federal government.

July hasn’t been a good month for Ashford or its parent company, Bridgepoint Education, and it could get worse for the company if it doesn’t quell concerns about high student dropout rates, academic rigor, and a low number of full-time Ashford faculty members.

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) last week rejected Ashford’s bid for accreditation – a public admonition that sent Bridgepoint’s stock prices tumbling by more than 30 percent. The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, another accrediting body, is now giving Ashford a month to comply with basic accreditation criteria, according to a Bridgepoint filing.…Read More