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DeSantis Sues Biden Administration Over Accreditation

DeSantis Sues Biden Administration Over Accreditation

Inside Higher Ed

Katherine Knott
June 23, 2023
Higher education’s accreditation system violates the Constitution, Florida governor Ron DeSantis alleges in a new federal lawsuit against the Biden administration that’s aiming to strip accreditors of their authority.
“I will not allow Joe Biden’s Department of Education to defund America’s #1 higher education system all because we refuse to bow to unaccountable accreditors who think they should run Florida’s public universities,” DeSantis said in a statement.
Colleges and universities have to be accredited by an Education Department–recognized accreditor in order to receive federal student aid, according to U.S. law. In recent years, some institutional accreditors have spoken against state lawmakers’ efforts to reshape higher education and have become the target of criticism.
“Accreditation standards are not advisory or optional,” the complaint says. “Rather, all postsecondary institutions must be accredited by a recognized accrediting agency to be eligible for any federal funding programs for higher education. Making matters worse, colleges and universities cannot freely choose their masters, as federal law requires them to show ‘reasonable cause’ to change accreditors.”
DeSantis has long focused on accreditation as a problem, and former president Trump has picked up on that line of criticism as part of his 2024 presidential campaign. Other conservative groups are also starting to focus on the role of accreditors.
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