Could DETC become obsolete?

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by thomas_jefferson, Nov 29, 2010.

  1. Mohammed

    Mohammed New Member

    I am in agreement with PaulC. I have always felt that the DETC (formerly NHSC) focused on distance learning and offered legitimate accreditation to schools conducting such courses. If, anything, it is the regionals who have gone on in recent times to include institutions that extended their portfolio to offer distance courses.
  2. truckie270

    truckie270 New Member

    The chicken or the egg argument of who is encroaching on who's turf with distance learning is really irrelevant. If the U.S. DOE decides to start coming after a particular segment of higher education, second-tier accredited institutions will be a bigger target - pure and simple.

    As Dr. Pina noted, what benefit does DETC provide that RA does not to a school? I have heard of DETC schools getting RA - has anyone ever heard of an RA school going for DETC?
  3. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Not exactly. It's true that the DETC (including its predecessor, the NHSC) has a long history. But for most of that history, it was associated with non-degree programs.

    The NHSC didn't have the authority for "accrediting programs that award undergrad and grad degrees" until 1985. As shown in the official DETC History Book: "January 16, 1985: The U.S. Secretary of Education recognizes the Accrediting Commission of the NHSC and expands its scope of activity to include academic degree programs (associates through the masters degree level)."

    Not exactly. In fact, the regional agencies were accrediting non-traditional schools years before the USDoE gave the NHSC/DETC authority to do so. For example, the "Big Three" of DL -- Charter Oak State College, Thomas Edison State College, and Excelsior College (originally Regents College) -- were all established in the early 1970s. In the 1970s, you could get a regionally accredited degree from the "Big Three" -- but there was no NHSC/DETC alternative until the 1980s.

    I agree, it is irrelevant. Just thought the historical details might be of interest.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 27, 2010
  4. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    For what it's worth, twenty-six years of accrediting degree programs seems to me to qualify as "quite some time".

  5. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Fair enough. However, some people incorrectly assume that DETC has been accrediting degree programs for even longer -- presumably because they like to advertise the original NHSC founding date of 1926.

    Would you agree that regionally-accredited Excelsior, COSC, and TESC have been around for "quite some time" as well ?
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 27, 2010
  6. truckie270

    truckie270 New Member

    Sorry, but this is hillarious.
  7. PaulC

    PaulC Member

    People on this forum think that?
  8. GeneralSnus

    GeneralSnus Member

    Is it really surprising when the DETC says things like:

  9. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I suppose some might, but people who make assumptions rather than check facts will always end up less well informed than they otherwise might be. I think it would be a stretch to say DETC is deliberately misleading anyone by saying that as NHSC they were originally founded in the '20s or started accrediting programs in the '50s if both of those things are true. It's not like most people out there are going to say no to DETC accredited schools who otherwise would have said yes to them just because they find out DETC's only accredited degree programs since the Reagan administration.

    I do.

  10. GeneralSnus

    GeneralSnus Member

    I think DETC is being willfully misleading. They were recognized in 1955 as an accrediting agency for the purposes of the G.I. Bill. At that time, the G.I. Bill required programs to be accredited and the NHSC accredited things like T.V. repair by mail programs, not academic programs. The DETC could have identified which "Public Law" they were recognized under in 1955. Instead they omitted the P.L. number meaning anyone who wants to research their bona fides must do more than a little research. Why not be completely transparent about who they are and their origins?
  11. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Some of the posts above imply that DETC/NHSC was accrediting DL degree programs before the RA schools thought of it, and that RA is therefore "infringing" on DETC's "turf". Such an interpretation is questionable (the Big Three being the most obvious counterexamples), so I questioned it.

    This is not intended to disparage DETC/NHSC, or to belittle their 26 years of accrediting DL degree-granting schools. The only point that I am trying to make here is that the RA agencies have been accrediting DL degree-granting schools for just as long as DETC/NHSC (in fact, longer).
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 28, 2010
  12. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    I asked that question of an American Graduate University recruiter and he said cost is the major obstacle - this was several years ago and I recall he mentiond $250,000 plus having a significant library.

    The latter point is interesting because when I enrolled with NCU I had to certify that I had access to a good college library (which were UCR, CSUDH, an Air Museum library, and a local CC.
  13. Petedude

    Petedude New Member

    This is why my eyes roll (or bug out, depending on the post in question) when someone asks of a given NA school (e.g. the popular tree-named U) "why don't they apply for RA"? There are fees associated with this activity, and resources that have to be in place for a given school to qualify for RA accreditation. Beyond that, these resources have to be maintained, which is a constant hit against the bottom line that ends up reflected in tuition. It's just not feasible for most low-cost NA schools to pursue.
  14. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    This is from SACS. Some of these fees, like the application fee for new institutions, are one-time only. Other fees are only triggered by specific events (such as a substantive change visit for new programs). I will check to see what my institution's annual dues are. It is clear that no one can derive $250,000 from this:

    A Consolidated Schedule

    This consolidated schedule of dues, fees, and other expenses is provided as a convenience to member institutions. The schedule is subject to change. For more information, please see the Commission’s Dues and Fees policy at Commission on Colleges.

    Institutions being reviewed are responsible for covering the actual direct expenses of the evaluation committee. Direct expenses normally include travel, lodging, meals, and other related expenses. For general budgeting purposes, institutions may use a guideline of approximately $1,500 expenses per committee member; however, expenses vary considerably depending upon the site location(s), the number of committee members, etc. In certain cases a “flat fee” assessment is used rather than actual direct expenses; in other cases a percentage fee is assessed in addition to actual direct expenses. The consolidated schedule appears below.

    1. Application Fee for New Institutions: $10,000 - national institutions; $15,000 - international institutions. The fee must accompany the institution’s application when submitted to the Commission. It helps to cover costs of the application review and consultation with staff.

    2. Candidacy Fee: $2,500 – national institutions; $2,500 international institutions. The fee is assessed when the institution is authorized to receive a Candidacy Committee. This fee helps to cover staff costs associated with the institution’s accreditation process, including the assembling of a Candidacy Committee.

    3. Candidate and Membership Dues: Candidate and member institutions are assessed annual dues beginning with the calendar year in which candidacy or membership status is awarded. Dues are based on the following formula: Dues = Fixed Cost + Full-Time Enrollment Equivalent Variable + Education and General Expenditure Variable. If an institution’s E & G total does not exceed $4,000,000, then that institution’s dues amount includes only the fixed cost amount added to the full-time enrollment equivalent variable amount.

    4. Reaffirmation Committee (Off-Site): $2,500 flat fee is assessed prior to the review (in lieu of the direct expense approach).

    5. Special Committee: A fee of 25 percent of the actual direct expenses of the committee is added to determine total cost for the committee’s review. The institution being reviewed is invoiced following conclusion of the committee’s evaluation activities. This fee helps to offset the additional staff activities normally associated with Special Committees.

    6. Substantive Change Committee: A fee of 25 percent of the actual direct expenses of the committee is added to determine total cost for the committee’s review. The institution being reviewed is invoiced following conclusion of the committee’s evaluation activities. This fee helps to offset the additional staff activities normally associated with Substantive Change Committees.

    7. Substantive Change Review Fees (Application/Prospectus): The following fees will be assessed to institutions planning the initiation of a substantive change and requiring an application/prospectus review: $300 - Institution seeking review of a substantive change prospectus or application for level change; $150 - Per institution for a collaborative effort between two member institutions seeking review of a single prospectus; and, $100 - Per institution for a collaborative effort among three or more member institutions seeking review of a single prospectus.

    8. Leadership Team Orientation: $100 registration fee per person which includes lunch. Participants pay their own additional expenses.

    9. Pre-Applicant Workshop: $150 registration fee per person which includes lunch. Participants pay their own additional expenses.

    10. Staff Advisory Visit (associated with reaffirmation): $500 flat fee (in lieu of actual direct expenses) billed to the institution upon conclusion of the visit.
  15. PaulC

    PaulC Member

    But that is factual. I suppose people can infer anything from anything, but is doesn't seem to imply anything other than what it says.
  16. GeneralSnus

    GeneralSnus Member

    Except it isn't factual.
  17. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    I'm sure that it costs more to earn and maintain accreditation from a regional agency than it does from DETC. But some little tiny schools do manage to get and keep regional accreditation, at least with WASC. There are a number of small independent graduate schools and seminaries in California, with enrollments of less than 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) students, that nonetheless hold full WASC accreditation. The smallest that I know of is the MFA program at the American Conservatory Theater in SF, with an enrollment of 34 FTE students.
  18. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    SACS has requirements for institutions to maintain sufficient numbers of full-time faculty and minimum percentages of faculty who must possess terminal degrees. This would affect the bottom line of institutions who operate almost exclusively with adjunct faculty with few or no full-time faculty and would make it necessary for such institutions to modify their staffing before seeking regional accreditation.
  19. truckie270

    truckie270 New Member

    I believe that is the biggest factor that keeps DETC schools from pursuing RA. It is not the cost of the actual accreditation process but the costs of meeting the requirements to seek accreditation in terms of moving from an adjunct-based faculty pool towards more full-time faculty.

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