June 10, 2023
Also: Explaining the Gainful Employment rule, and resuming student loan payments (for real this time).
Welcome to The Tassel, FREOPP’s newsletter on higher education policy, written by senior fellow Preston Cooper. Each month, The Tassel dives into our latest work on higher education, along with a handpicked selection of research and articles from around the web that we think are worth your time. To manage your subscription preferences, visit your Substack settings.
If you’d told me three years ago that college accreditation reform would become a presidential campaign issue, I would have raised an eyebrow. But here’s Florida Governor Ron DeSantis during his campaign launch last month:
“Some of the problems with the university and the ideological capture — that didn’t happen by accident, you can trace back all the way to the accreditation cartels. Well, guess what? To become an accreditor, how do you do that? You’ve got to get approved by the U.S. Department of Education. So we’re going to be doing alternative accreditation regimes.”
Former President Donald Trump has also hammered the accreditation issue. From a recent speech:
The accreditors are supposed to ensure that schools are not ripping off students and taxpayers, but they have failed totally. When I return to the White House, I will fire the radical Left accreditors that have allowed our colleges to become dominated by Marxist Maniacs and lunatics. We will then accept applications for new accreditors who will impose real standards on colleges once again and once and for all.
While the culture-war aspects of the accreditation issue are beyond the scope of this newsletter, Trump and DeSantis’ interest in “alternative accreditation regimes” is welcome for other reasons: accreditors, by and large, are failing to protect students from colleges that leave them financially worse off.