The Value of National Accreditation

Dr. Albert C. Gray, ACICS Executive Director and CEO, comments on "The Don'ts of Higher Ed Reform" by Robert Zemsky, September 4, 2009,

Mr. Zemsky asserts in his commentary, The Don’ts of Higher Ed Reform, that the public has a lack of understanding of the accreditation process and what accreditation can offer students, based on available data and learning outcomes. However employers and career school graduates know the reality – national accreditation requires, tracks and measures learning outcomes that translate to applied skills and job placement.

Nationally accredited schools uphold strong quality assurance standards that are defined and required by state and federal regulations and are refined and applied by the accrediting agency. The numbers speak for themselves – graduates from accredited career colleges, in general, have higher job placement rates than those who gradate from many traditional universities and community colleges.

Suggesting that accreditation should not be considered as an agent of reform ignores the fundamental value of effective accreditation in ensuring institutional quality at career colleges. Without harnessing an effective system of accreditation in the U.S., fundamental reform of higher education is unlikely.