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The universe of eligible institutions in the Guaranteed Student

Loan Program, which is our largest single listing of eligible institutions,

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Institutional eligibility based upon the 1965 Higher Education Act, and the series of amendments and statutes related thereto, is linked to two broad types of Federal program assistance: student financial aid, and direct institutional aid or support. Student financial assistance programs include the Basic and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants Program, the College Work-Study Program, the National Direct Student Loan Program and the aforementioned Guaranteed Student Loan Program. Institutional support programs include ones such as that for Strengthening Developing Institutions, the College Library Support Program, and

Loans and Grants for Academic Facilities.

The term "Institutions of higher education" as defined in the statutory requirements, include public and nonprofit institutions which offer the traditional collegiate programs of study leading to a degree. The term also includes other public and nonprofit schools which offer one year programs of study that lead to gainful employment in recognized

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occupations such as hospital schools of nursing and other allied health schools, public area vocational schools and nonprofit business, trade and technical schools. Public and nonprofit institutions which meet all of the other specific requirements stated in the legislation, which I will discuss later, are eligible to participate in institutional support programs and programs that provide financial assistance to students attending these institutions. According to our latest figures, over 3,584 schools meet the statutory definition of "institution of higher education" and have been awarded eligibility status to participate in both institutional support and student financial aid programs.

Eligible proprietary schools may apply for participation in the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program, the National Direct Student Loan Program and the College Work-Study Program. Presently, 1,341 accredited proprietary institutions are eligible to participate in the Basic and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants Program, the National Direct Student Loan Program and the College WorkStudy Program.

The Guaranteed Student Loan Program provides for the definition of a special category of schools, called "vocational schools," which include public, private non-profit and proprietary schools which offer postsecondary occupationally oriented programs to high school graduates and non-high school graduates. Over 3,000 of these vocational schools have been advised of their eligibility for this program. This figure includes 344 unaccredited proprietary vocational schools.

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Before any school or institution may become eligible to participate in education programs administered by the Office of Education, it must meet certain minimum statutory requirements such as those indicated on the attached chart. The statutory eligibility elements fall into three categories. The first of these categories relate to factual information such as type of school, length of programs, and legal authorization. second category involves special requirements established by program administrators under broader provisions of law, through regulation specifying provisions which participating schools must meet (such as 'maintenance of efforts requirements" for library aid programs). third category deals with the qualitative aspects of schools educational programs in other words, accreditation, or one of the

alternatives to accredited status.

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It is in administering the Office of Education's responsibilities in relation to the qualitative factor of eligibility (i.e., that dealing with accreditation or its alternatives) that the greatest and most complex problems arise. Before mentioning some of these specific problems, however, we might first discuss accreditation and the Commissioner of Education's recognition of accrediting agencies.

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Overview of Accreditation as it Relates to
Institutional Eligibility

Accreditation is a major factor in establishing the eligibility status of educational institutions and programs to participate in the various Federal funding programs of assistance to education. It also is a unique area in the eligibility determination process, because it is a process which takes place outside the jurisdiction of the Federal government, and it varies considerably in form and purpose, depending upon the organization conducting the process.

Accreditation, a Brief View of Its History and Functions

The practice of accreditation arose around the turn of the century in response to the need to upgrade educational quality and to establish definitions and standards for general collegiate and professional education. It sought to execute a need that is fulfilled in many other countries of the world by ministries of education or other centralized authorities, which exercise quality control functions over education. The philosophy of institutional autonomy in education, and the varying degree of control over institutions of higher education exercised by the States, also contributed to the need for this form of quality identification in education which is unique to the United States.

Private educational associations of regional and national scope

have developed standards and procedures used in conducting peer evaluation aimed at determining whether or not educational institutions or programs

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