NAICU Washington Update


December 20, 2011

The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) held its semi-annual meeting December 14-16-dividing its time between review of accreditation agencies and discussion of recommendations to Education Secretary Duncan regarding reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.  (See Washington Update 12/22/10 & 2/11/11.)

The committee reviewed 15 agencies, but spent the bulk of its time on just two:  The Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA-CASI).

The CCE consideration attracted the testimony of about two dozen outside commenters - most being critical of the agency.  They contended that recent revisions of the agency's standards abandoned traditional chiropractic practices and procedures and took on more of a primary care focus.  There is a longstanding divide within the chiropractic community about these issues.  However, the intensity of the concerns expressed at the meeting led the committee to instruct the agency to include in its report to NACIQI next year information about the acceptance of its policies and procedures by its various constituent groups.

In considering NCA-CASI, the committee rejected the recommendation of Department staff that the agency's recognition not be renewed - instead choosing to give the agency an additional year to address its deficiencies.  The agency accredits non-degree granting career and technical education institutions in 17 states.

In offering recommendations on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, the committee reviewed a series of options compiled from previous committee discussions of the issue.  The committee had made this options paper available for public review, and NAICU joined several other higher education associations in submitting comments.

A clear NACIQI majority supports retaining accreditation as a requirement for federal student aid eligibility, but the committee hasn't yet reached consensus on specific changes that they would like to see made within this framework. The committee approached the task of further refining their position by discussing each of the 30 items in the options paper, followed by a "straw poll" to assess interest in each of them.

The next step in the process will be the development of a new document, which will be open for public comment.  The committee hopes to finalize its recommendations by June 2012.

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