The American Council on Education this week announced that 15 more colleges have joined an alternative credit consortium the higher-education umbrella group created last year. The new institutions will join 25 other colleges -- collectively representing a broad swath of higher education -- that have agreed to accept all or most of the transfer credit students seek after successfully completing courses from a council-created pool of about 100 low-cost online courses. The pool includes courses offered by online institutions and nontraditional providers. ACE is collecting data and tracking success rates of students who transfer in with consortium-approved course credits.
"This project already is yielding enormous benefits, adding to our body of knowledge about the most effective ways to go about increasing the number of Americans able to earn a college degree or credential by using education, training and life experiences gained outside of a formal higher education classroom," said Molly Corbett Broad, ACE's president, in a written statement.
The Lumina Foundation is funding a $2.25 million project to create a credential registry, which will help users compare the quality and value of credentials, including college degrees and industry certifications. The web-based system will receive credential information directly from issuing institutions. Its creators hope to create several applications, including one that will allow for the review of competency-based transcripts and portfolios that are based on transfer policies.
Other institutions that are participating in the registry's creation include George Washington University's Institute of Public Policy, Workcred (an affiliate of the American National Standards Institute) and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale’s Center for Workforce Development.
The Higher Learning Commission removed the University of Phoenix from "on notice" status effective June 25, according to corporate filings published Thursday. The status is a sanction that indicates the institution is moving in a direction that could place it out of compliance with the accreditor's requirements.
In a statement to Phoenix staff and faculty, President Tim Slottow and Provost Meredith Curley wrote: "We are appreciative of the work done by the HLC staff and the independent peer review team made up of professionals in higher education and their recognition of the efforts undertaken by everyone at University of Phoenix to satisfactorily resolve all concerns identified in 2013. But our work in this area is never done. We will host a comprehensive visit again in 2016-17 where we intend to demonstrate the university's further progress and continued compliance with all of the criteria for accreditation."
"Within my first 100 days, I will bust this cartel by establishing a new accreditation process that welcomes low-cost, innovative providers," the Florida Republican and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination said in prepared statement.
The speech in Chicago built on related proposals Rubio has pushed in the Senate. He cited student debt levels and the lack of workforce relevance of degree programs as reasons to create a new accreditation pathway for upstart providers. "This would expose higher education to the market forces of choice and competition," he said, "which would prompt a revolution driven by the needs of students -- just as the needs of consumers drive the progress of every other industry in our economy."
Rubio also mentioned a bipartisan bill he previously co-sponsored that would give prospective students and parents detailed information on how much graduates in academic programs at individual colleges could expect to make.