FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Pope Center joins in amicus brief to curb power of higher education accreditors
RALEIGH, NC — July 22, 2014 Disturbed by the excessive power wielded by accreditors of higher education institutions, the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy has joined two other reform organizations, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni and the Judicial Education Project, in an amicus brief filed this month.
They are countering an amicus brief brought by more than 20 accrediting organizations, including the major university accreditors such as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. These accreditors are “gatekeepers” for federal loans—their decisions determine whether or not schools can receive federal student loans.
The brief endorsed by the Pope Center argues that courts must be able to review decisions because the accreditors have enormous power and their decisions are not reviewed by the federal government.
The accreditors contend that the courts should be extremely deferential to the accreditors decisions even though their decisions can have a life-or-death impact on the schools they accredit or reject.
The case was initially brought by Professional Massage Training Center against the Accreditation Alliance of Career Schools and Colleges, which had terminated the center’s accreditation. Professional Massage argued that the termination was unfair and sued Accreditation Alliance in a federal district court in Virginia.
In January 2014, the court agreed with the career school, requiring the Accreditation Alliance to reinstate accreditation and fining the accreditor $420,000. The Alliance appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, and the two opposing amicus briefs were filed in connection with the appeal.
A PDF version of the brief can be found below.