Testimony of Dr. Albert C. Gray

Testimony of Albert C. Gray, President & CEO
Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), Washington, D.C.
Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP)
June 17, 2015


On behalf of the Board of ACICS, our more than 900 colleges and schools throughout the U.S. and internationally, and the more than 800,000 students enrolled, my appreciation for the opportunity to contribute to the Senate's sincere efforts to strengthen the system of post-secondary education in the U.S. through the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act in general, and through the thoughtful reform of the system of accreditation in particular. As the nation's community of learners and employers has evolved, so have the methods for delivering effective post-secondary education; so too must the discipline of quality assurance evolve and reform.

Founded in 1912, ACICS is the largest national accrediting organization of degree granting institutions. ACICS is authorized to accredit professional, technical and occupational programs through the master's degree level by the U.S. Department of Education and Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). ACICS has been continuously recognized by the U.S. Government since 1956 as a reliable authority on institutional quality and integrity.

As a recognized national accreditor, ACICS is not constrained by geographic boundaries or territories. Currently we assure the quality of colleges and schools in 47 states and more than a dozen international locations. ACICS has developed standards and the capacity to review new and emerging education delivery modes, including on-line instruction, international education and competency-based education. As the colleges and schools adapt new modes of serving a dynamic student population, ACICS is poised to respond with flexibility and innovation in the quality assurance discipline.


Today I offer three considerations to inform the legislative task of reauthorizing the Higher Education Act and strengthening the system of voluntary quality assurance known as accreditation:

1. Know the students, understand their unique needs and circumstances, and use that knowledge to shape higher education policy, as ACICS uses that knowledge to shape requirements and expectations for assuring quality and institutional effectiveness.

2. Inventory the depth of rigor and review that is applied through the quality assurance process and build policy that empowers and strengthens the value of that process.

3. Encourage the accreditation community to play a broader role in defining the measures of value incorporated in the price/value proposition. This role is uniquely the obligation of accreditation, and when it is played effectively, the relationship between price and value is kept in balance.

Read Dr. Gray's full testimony...