Duquesne Law Review


Sarah Molinero


Higher education institutions in the United States must be accredited by an agency recognized by the Department of Education to be eligible to receive federal funding, making accreditation critical to an institution's survival. But while the federal government relies on accreditation as a benchmark for dispersing billions of taxpayer dollars each year, it specifically disclaims accountability for the quality of education that students actually receive at accredited institutions.

With the increase in for-profit education, mounting student loan debt, and a growing trend in competition for international student recruitment, the accreditation system utilized in the United States for over 100 years no longer keeps pace with these developments. This article explains how the federal government is uniquely situated to ensure the quality of higher education because of its use of accreditation as a prerequisite for federal funding. Mandating standards that accrediting agencies must follow to measure the quality of the institutions they accredit and fostering competition among the accrediting agencies themselves will preserve and improve the quality of higher education in the United States.

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