ERIC Number: ED483363
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Mar
State Licensure versus Accreditation of Proprietary Schools and Colleges: A Review and Comparison of Roles and Functions. Commission Report 04-03
California Postsecondary Education Commission
The purpose of this report is to determine how best to ensure that California citizens will have high quality private postsecondary education opportunities and further, to assess the appropriate role for the State to play. It has been 14 years since the Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education Reform Act was passed, and a number of exemptions have been enacted or are being proposed that would alter the State's oversight responsibilities for specific groups of accredited schools. For this reason, the California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC) believes that the time is right to review and compare the structure and functions of both the state agency responsible for oversight of private institutions and the non-governmental accrediting agencies that accredit many of these schools. Secondly, the state legislature is currently conducting a "sunset review" of the Reform Act for the purpose of determining whether or not the law should be continued. Finally, Congress is discussing the issue of self-regulation and accreditation of colleges and universities in connection with the reauthorization of the federal Higher Education Act. Major conclusions include: (1) both accreditation and State licensure address the issue of quality in the educational offerings of private postsecondary institutions, but are totally independent of each other; (2) State licensure provides a mechanism by which institutions that fail to comply with quality standards established by the state can be denied permission to operate in this state; (3) accreditation provides a mechanism for associations created and funded by institutions to adopt standards and practices by which the institutions essentially "police" themselves; and (4) state standards provide different protections for students and accreditation should not be viewed as an alternative or substitute for the adoption and enforcement of state standards--However, there are some areas where students and the public would be better served by streamlining state policies and coordinating the activities of the state with the activities of accreditation associations. Specific recommendations include: (1) the state's adoption of quality standards and the review process should take into consideration the standards adopted by and the review process used by accreditation associations so as to eliminate duplication and, wherever possible, strengthen the quality of educational programs; and (2) the Reform Act should be revised such that it can be implemented more efficiently and effectively to ensure that students and school owners are treated equitably.
Descriptors: Organizations (Groups), Higher Education, State Standards, National Programs, Vocational Education, State Agencies, State Regulation, Proprietary Schools, Accreditation (Institutions), Federal Legislation
California Postsecondary Education Commission, 1303 J Street, Suite 500, Sacramento, CA 95814-2938. Tel: 916-322-9268.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A