June 27, 2023

John Przypyszny Quoted by Inside Higher Ed on Higher Education Accreditation

In “DeSantis Challenges Constitutionality of Accreditation,” Inside Higher Ed spoke to education partner John Przypyszny about Florida governor Ron DeSantis and other state officials filing a federal lawsuit looking to upend the accreditation system of higher education.

“I’m not aware that we’ve ever seen these sorts of arguments made, essentially that the department doesn’t have the authority under the HEA to have the regulatory triad include accreditors,” explained Przypyszny. “That’s a unique argument … It’s interesting, it’s creative and it’s novel, but that doesn’t mean it would be successful.”

Przypyszny said the lawsuit is an extreme way for the state to deal with the Biden administration’s response. “They think it’s important that the school should only be accountable to the state…They’re bristling at the fact that in order to get the federal student aid, they have to go through the private accreditation process.”

Further, Przypyszny took issue with the lawsuit’s argument that there’s no accountability or oversight, and the laws and regulations governing accreditors do give the department oversight. The filing, he noted, does not mention the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, which provides recommendations to the department regarding accrediting agencies.

“There is accountability,” Przypyszny stated. “Ask a former [Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools] school if they don’t think that the accreditors are held accountable to the department.” He added that accreditation and receiving Title IV funds is voluntary and questioned what would happen if the lawsuit prevailed: Who would be responsible for academic quality and determining that institutions are legitimate? “You never know what could happen,” Przypyszny concluded.

The full article is available for Inside Higher Ed subscribers.

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