Phi Beta Cons

Higher Ed Must Serve the Public Interest

Inside Higher Ed has a story about the decision by the North Central Association (the largest of the regional accrediting associations that act as gatekeepers for access to federal student aid money) to adopt a new standard — that an institution must above all serve the public interest. This is a subjective “standard” that will enable it to lower the boom on not only for-profit institutions, but conceivably any school that displeases the grandees at North Central. 

These accrediting agencies do nothing to ensure educational quality, and if they had to pass the test of the market — providing services that colleges could choose to pay for or decline — I doubt that they would last long. The growing online revolution may render accreditation as we know it an irrelevant antique, and that would be a splendid side effect.

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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