Center for American Progress

RELEASE: College Accreditors Must Act To Protect Students and Taxpayers in Light of Coronavirus Pandemic
Press Release

RELEASE: College Accreditors Must Act To Protect Students and Taxpayers in Light of Coronavirus Pandemic

Washington, D.C. — In light of the coronavirus pandemic, many of the nation’s colleges are experiencing severe financial duress at a time when significant capital expenditures are needed to help students transition to learning outside of the lecture hall. Given these challenges, it is essential that the watchdogs tasked with overseeing the quality and financial health of the nation’s colleges—accrediting agencies—provide better, not less, oversight.

A new Center for American Progress column released today outlines key steps the nation’s accrediting agencies should take to protect students and taxpayers, including: enhanced monitoring and oversight of colleges’ finances and enrollment; implementation of student safeguards for potential closures; and monitoring of the use of online educational delivery. The column’s release comes as 22 policy and advocacy organizations have sent letters to the nation’s accrediting agencies to adopt these commonsense steps to prevent abuse and protect students.

“During the Great Recession, significant changes in enrollment and recruitment, particularly at for-profit colleges, resulted in rampant abuse of taxpayer dollars; wasted years of study at deceptive and low-quality schools; and student loan borrowers shouldering more debt without improved job prospects. Students face new risks as a result of the pandemic, including potential college closures and schools rushing to provide online education that does not meet quality standards. Meanwhile, the Department of Education is set to roll back numerous regulations on July 1 that decrease oversight of colleges and protect students. As accreditors work to provide colleges with additional flexibility, they should also be preparing for the inevitable realities students face in the months and years ahead and take steps now to mitigate the potential harm this will have on countless students,” said Antoinette Flores, director of Postsecondary Education at CAP and author of the column.

Please click here to read: “3 Steps Needed To Protect College Students in the Wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic” by Antoinette Flores

Please click here to read the letter sent by 22 policy and advocacy organizations to the nation’s college accreditors about the need for enhanced oversight in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at [email protected].

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