Accreditor takes tougher stance on "accreditation shopping"

July 2, 2010

Prior to 2008, the US-based Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC) acquired a reputation for allowing flexible standards for the growing for-profit education industry. Now, the accreditor is saying "not so fast" to for-profit entities purchasing financially struggling non-profit colleges, then holding on to those schools' regional accreditation, even if their missions change -- a practice called "accreditation shopping." The HLC recently rejected 2 "change of control" requests to have accreditation to continue with the purchase of non-profit colleges by for-profit organizations, leading one of the schools to be shut down after the buyers no longer considered the deal viable. HLC based the decisions on new policy designed to prevent accreditation shopping, a practice to which the commission is very much opposed. "Accreditation is not like a liquor license." Inside Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)