Critics blame accreditation for many of the (often conflicting) problems they see in higher education. But the agencies will likely endure, in large part because any replacement would give the feds much more power.
Brookings report rates several thousand two- and four-year colleges on graduates' economic outcomes, and by controlling for student traits, strives to measure the value the institutions themselves add.
A Congressional watchdog asserts that accrediting agencies have not been more likely to sanction colleges with poor student outcomes than they are higher-performing institutions -- though report's own data are mixed on that question.
An accrediting official who has been caught in the crucible between encouraging experimentation and protecting aid funds proposes a way for new institutions to get access to federal aid, without "subterfuge."
The Degree Qualifications Profile aimed to better define what a degree should mean. As its sponsors release a new version nearly four years later, the document has spurred discussions about learning at hundreds of colleges, but tangible impact has been limited.