Education Dept. Audit Reasserts Critique of Accreditor

May 27, 2010

The inspector general's office of the U.S. Education Department has issued a final (and largely unchanged) version of a highly critical analysis last winter of the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. In the audit, the inspector general's office reiterates its view that the regional accrediting group "does not have an established definition of a credit hour or minimum requirements for program length and the assignment of credit hours," a situation that "could result in inflated credit hours, the improper designation of full-time student status, and the over-awarding" of federal financial aid funds. The audit related largely to the accreditor's approval of American InterContinental University, a for-profit higher education provider. The final version of the audit includes a vigorous rebuttal by the Higher Learning Commission of the inspector general's conclusions.

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