The U.S. Department of Education has warned the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges that it is out of compliance with several federal regulations and could face a possible sanction if the problems are not corrected within 12 months.
In a letter, dated August 13, the department cited four areas where the accreditor does not meet federal standards, including its policy on the makeup of visiting accreditation-review teams and its policy on conflicts of interest. Other areas deal with a requirement for the accreditor to provide a clear explanation to institutions of any areas where it finds an institution does not meet its standards, and the time frame the accreditor gives institutions for correcting those deficiencies.
If the accrediting commission, which is part of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, has not brought its policies into compliance after a year, the department could act to limit, suspend, or even terminate the commission’s federal recognition. Accreditors must be recognized by the Department of Education in order to serve as gatekeepers for federal student aid.
In a news release, the commission said that it was disappointed in the department’s findings and would respond fully during its application to renew its recognition in the fall. “There will be some correction of errors of fact, and some provision of explanatory information,” the news release said. <Read more.>