Council for Higher Education Accreditation


Council for Higher Education Accreditation
Council for Higher Education Accreditation

Logo of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation
Abbreviation CHEA
President Judith S. Eaton
Website CHEA.org

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) is a United States organization of degree-granting colleges and universities. It identifies its purpose as providing national advocacy for self-regulation of academic quality through accreditation in order to certify the quality of higher education accrediting organizations, including regional, faith-based, private career, and programmatic accrediting organizations.[1]

The organization has approximately 3,000 academic institutions as members, and currently recognizes approximately 60 accrediting organizations.[2] It maintains an International Directory which "contains contact information about 467 quality assurance bodies, accreditation bodies and Ministries of Education in 175 countries. The quality assurance and accreditation bodies have been authorized to operate by their respective governments either as agencies of the government or as private (nongovernmental) organizations. "[3]

Contents

History

Established in 1996, it is the successor to several earlier national nongovernmental associations formed to coordinate the U.S. accreditation process. In 1974, the Federation of Regional Accrediting Commissions of Higher Education (FRACHE; an association of regional accreditors) and the National Commission on Accrediting (an association of specialized and national accreditation agencies) had merged to form the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation (COPA), which had the purpose of ensuring the quality of accreditation.

In 1993, it was dissolved because of tensions among the different types of accreditation agencies that formed its membership--ultimately the result of the increasing problems for higher education in the 1980s and 1990s.[4] Problems with tuition increases, scandals, and doubts about the value of postsecondary higher education plagued all parts of the higher education sector.[5]

In particular, Congressional investigations of soaring student loan defaults and student aid abuses were highly critical of the laxity of accreditation and accreditation processes.[6][7]

Consequently, the 1992 amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965 included Program Integrity provisions designed to strengthen the gatekeeping triad for student loan guarantees and financial aid (i.e., state licensing bodies, accreditation associations, and Federal government). The higher education community viewed with alarm the establishment of SPREs (State Postsecondary Review Entities), which were given accrediting powers under special conditions. "When campus lobbyists heard about the legislation and realized that non-governmental accreditation was being replaced by a federal-state agency evaluation of institutions, including assessments of academic quality never before carried out by government, they 'went apoplectic', as one observer put it." [8]

Early in 1993, the regional accreditors (which in the United States are the ones accrediting the higher levels of traditional educational institutions) voted to leave COPA, indicating their dissatisfaction with COPA's political representation on Capitol Hill, which was widely viewed as ineffective at the time, particularly in regard to the new HEA legislation establishing the SPREs. In April 1993, COPA voted to disband itself by the end of the year.[9]

Work by the National Policy Board on Higher Education Institutional Accreditation (NPB), and other groups laid the ground-work for a national successor to COPA. Among their concerns were establishing a more grassroots membership, billing and fees, and advisory role of the accrediting associations, and improving the public image of accrediting and improving the ability to lobby the Federal government.[10][11][12]

CHEA's immediate predecessor was the Council for Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation (CORPA), which was formed following the dissolution of COPA.[13] CHEA grandfathered in those accrediting associations recognized by COPA, provided that more than half the institutions that they accredited granted degrees.[14]

Most recently, CHEA is known for its strong public opposition to various accreditation reform efforts by the U.S. Department of Education [15], and in particular, the negative reaction of Judith S. Eaton, CHEA's president, to recommendations by Secretary Margaret Spellings' Commission on the Future of Higher Education. [16][17]

The organization faces substantial challenges, including helping the public to better understand accreditation in U.S.,[18] and to distinguish between the recognition of accrediting agencies conducted by the U.S. Secretary of Education, and those recognized by private nongovernmental associations, such as CHEA.[19]

Its recognition of accreditors differs from the recognition by the U.S. Secretary of Education, required for Title IV (HEA) student financial aid eligibility and loan guarantees.[20]

The organization wishes to prevent European-style ministry-based administration of higher education accreditation in the U.S.[21][15] The association is based in Washington, DC.

Information resources

Each accreditor recognized by CHEA is independent, which means that accreditation requirements vary from group to group. CHEA maintains a website that contains a searchable database to check accreditation status of recognized accreditation agencies, accredited schools, or schools currently in the process of getting accreditation (i.e., "candidates" for accreditation).[22] CHEA's "user agreement for publications of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation" states that it does not guarantee that all accredited schools are listed in the database.

Board of directors

David G. Carter, former Chancellor of the Connecticut State University System, is the Chair of the CHEA Board of Directors.[23]

See also

References

  1. ^ CHEA At a Glance, 2006
  2. ^ CHEA website, accessed January 31, 2010
  3. ^ CHEA International Directory introduction
  4. ^ Harland G. Bloland, Creating the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (2001), Chapter 3, The Mounting Threat to Higher Education's Pragmatic and Moral Legitimacy, pages 33-43.
  5. ^ Constance Ewing Cook, Lobbying for Higher Education: How Colleges and Universities Influence Federal Policy (1998), Erosion of Public Confidence, pages 34-44.
  6. ^ U.S. Senate, Abuses in Federal Student Aid Programs, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Committee on Governmental Affairs, May 17, 1991. Report 102-58.[1]
  7. ^ Harland G. Bloland, Creating the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (2001), page 182
  8. ^ Constance Ewing Cook, Lobbying for Higher Education: How Colleges and Universities Influence Federal Policy (1998), The Story of the State Postsecondary Review Entities, pages 44-51. The quote here is from page 47.
  9. ^ Harland G. Bloland, Creating the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (2001), Chapter 3, and page 39.
  10. ^ Harland G. Bloland, Creating the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (2001)
  11. ^ Robert Atwell, James Rogers, Independence, Accreditation, and the Public Interest, Special Report on Accreditation, October 1994, National Policy Board on Higher Education Institutional Accreditation (NBP). Available at ERIC [2].
  12. ^ Jane Wellman, Recognition of Accreditation Organizations: A Comparison of Policy & Practice of Voluntary Accreditation and The United States Department of Education], CHEA, January 1998.
  13. ^ Jane Wellman, [3] Recognition of Accreditation Organizations: A Comparison of Policy & Practice of Voluntary Accreditation and The United States Department of Education], CHEA, January 1998.
  14. ^ Harland G. Bloland, Creating the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (2001), page 183.
  15. ^ a b Council for Higher Education Accreditation, Resolution of the Board of Directors, May 7, 2007, Washington D. C. [4]
  16. ^ Judith S. Eaton, The Future of Accreditation? March 24, 2008, Inside Higher Ed [5]
  17. ^ Doug Lederman, Dissent and a Disputed Phone Call April 27, 2007, Inside Higher Ed, [6]
  18. ^ CHEA website [www.chea.org]
  19. ^ Jane Wellman, Recognition of Accreditation Organizations: A Comparison of Policy & Practice of Voluntary Accreditation and The United States Department of Education, January 1998, pages 3 - 4. [7] See also, Harland G. Bloland, Creating the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (2001), page 181.
  20. ^ Vickie Schray, Assuring Quality in Higher Education: Key Issues and Questions for Changing Accreditation in the United States, Issue Paper, The Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education (Fourth in a series of Issue Papers released at the request of Chairman Charles Miller to inform the work of the Commission), U.S. Department of Education, Washington D.C. [8] page 3
  21. ^ Judith S. Eaton, The Future of Accreditation? March 24, 2008, InsideHigherEd.com [9]
  22. ^ "CHEA Database of Institutions and Programs Accredited by Recognized US Accrediting Organizations". Council for Higher Education Accreditation. http://www.chea.org/search/search.asp. Retrieved 2006-10-01.  (You must accept the license agreement to see the source text.)
  23. ^ http://www.chea.org/pdf/Board%20Contact%20List%202011-2012.pdf

External links


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