RELEASE: New Bill Would Improve Oversight of Nation’s College Accreditors

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress released a new column analyzing how the the Accreditation Reform Act of 2020, introduced last week by lead sponsor Rep. Lori Trahan (D-MA) and co-sponsors Reps. Madeleine Dean (D-PA) and Jahana Hayes (D-CT), would improve oversight of the nation’s college accreditors. These organizations play a vital role in informing students about whether higher education programs meet quality assurance standards. Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Education is failing to properly oversee these watchdogs.

The Accreditation Reform Act of 2020 would:

  • Require the Education Department to conduct reviews that are more investigative and evidence-informed
  • Enforce the system of checks and balances by strengthening the role of the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity
  • Increase transparency
  • Encourage greater use of the Education Department’s authority to limit recognition or review institutions

“For students, accreditation is supposed to act as a safety seal of approval. This seal matters, since enrolling in college may be one of the biggest investments that students make in their future. The federal government’s relationship with accrediting agencies was intended to protect students and taxpayers from poor-performing institutions under the Education Department,” said Antoinette Flores, director for Postsecondary Education at CAP. “The Accreditation Reform Act would strengthen oversight over the nation’s accreditors, ensuring every student taking on student debt has a high-quality education. This is particularly important as the Trump administration guts regulations intended to protect students and taxpayers.”

Please click here to read: “Accreditation Reform Act of 2020: A Path Toward a More Equitable and High-Quality Higher Education System” by Viviann Anguiano and Antoinette Flores

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at or 202-741-6292.