For-Profits. I always wondered how they got accredited seeing some of their programs. I figured that some of them hired a temp staff to do all the work that goes along with accreditation. I’ve been on accreditation teams (in- and visiting). They are long processes and examine every aspect of the school.
Another way they get them is to apparently just buy a school that is about to going but happens to have accreditation. Wow. Corporate take overs. No wonder students feel like they are buying grades for little to no work. It’s like Walmart, or Target or Sears.
Critics of for-profit higher education have of late drawn attention to what they see as a pattern of “accreditation shopping” in which for-profit entities purchase financially struggling nonprofit colleges, and then hold on to the regional accreditation that the nonprofit colleges had for years, even as the new owners expand or radically change the institutions’ missions.
Well, the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS) has said no. Accreditation will not necessarily go with schools.
One accreditor is saying “not so fast.” The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools has recently rejected two “change of control” requests to have accreditation continue with the purchases of nonprofit colleges (Dana College, in Nebraska, and Rochester College, in Michigan) by for-profit entities. Further, the accreditor insisted on a series of stipulations to approve the continued accreditation of Iowa’s Waldorf College — stipulations that will effectively keep the near-term focus of the college on its residential, liberal arts mission.
So, what’s that poor little for-profit entity to do? It can keep the college’s accredited focus OR it can apply for initial accreditation – just like every other candidate. While this happened with the NCACS, discussions at the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) were behind it, so I think we’ll see a change across all six agencies.
I loved this statement from the HLC President:
“This practice that has been called ‘accreditation shopping’ — that’s something we are very much opposed to. Accreditation is not like a liquor license.”