Trump administration seeks overhaul of federal standards for college accreditors, arguing current rules stifle innovation. But critics say proposed changes water down oversight.
Betsy DeVos issued a proposal Tuesday to loosen federal standards for college accreditors, arguing that the changes would spur innovation.
The education secretary wants to allow colleges to expedite plans to outsource programs and to add new degree offerings or branch campuses without getting an accreditor’s approval. The changes also would make it easier for accreditors who don’t fully meet federal standards to retain their approval.
“With these reforms, our nation’s colleges and universities can spend more time and effort on serving students and less time, energy and money focused on bureaucratic compliance,” she said in a written statement.
Many of those changes delivered on long-standing demands by higher ed groups to streamline the accreditation process. But consumer advocates and other critics have warned that the proposal would unravel oversight of colleges and allow more low-quality programs to enroll students and access federal student aid.