(HEA Title IV, Section 496)


Quick Take: The efforts of the Department of Education to dictate the establishment and measurement of student achievement standards were stopped decisively by the new law, which prohibits the Secretary from regulating student achievement or any other accreditation standards.  This was a hard-fought battle and is a significant victory.

Other provisions in the law related to accreditation include: 
  • A requirement that accreditation standards respect the stated mission of the institution of higher education, including religious missions
  • Several revisions to due-process requirements for accreditation agencies
  • Provisions dealing with distance education, growth monitoring, teach-outs, disclosure of agency actions, and transfer of credit
  •  In related provisions, the new law also makes substantial changes to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI).  
When Will This
Take Effect?
The provisions regarding accreditation went into effect when the bill was signed into law on August 14, 2008.  The Secretary of Education is prohibited from regulating any of the accreditation standards listed in Section 496(a)(5).  All of the other accreditation provisions are subject to negotiated rulemaking.
Who on Campus May Need to Be Involved?  Offices involved with accreditation and distance education offerings; campus legal counsel
Additional Resources Statuatory Language
HEA101 Web Keyword for More Information: Accreditation