It’s not always a bad thing if an institution of higher education closes its doors, a senior Department of Education (ED) official said during a panel discussion at the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) Tuesday morning. But in order to reach that outcome, the closure has to be done in an intentional and organized way, the official said.
Speaking at an event focused on reforming the school closure process, ED’s Principal Deputy Under Secretary Diane Auer Jones said that when a school closes “in an orderly fashion, usually everyone wins.” When a school closes without warning—such as in the cases of Corinthian Colleges, ITT Technical Institute, and Argosy University—“it’s disruptive, expensive, unfair, stressful.” The recently concluded negotiated rulemaking process on accreditation and other issues is an attempt to move all school closures in a more structured direction, she said.
Through the process, she said, ED learned that not all accreditors require institutions to have teach-out plans in place, and others that do require them do not always require a sufficient level of detail in the event of a school closure. The consensus reached through the negotiated rulemaking process would create certain triggers that would require an institution to file a teach-out plan with its accrediting agency, Jones said, with detail that includes a list of programs, information about programs, and other institutions in the area that could potentially take on students.