It's hard to comment on this without knowing why the Dept. of Education is unhappy with the NCA/HLC. That part was redacted from the original document and the HLC's response was coy as well. It seems that some glaring defect was discovered in AIU that the NCA/HLC insisted be changed before accreditation was granted. The feds got wind of it and are apparently insisting that the unstated defect think made AIU unaccreditable and believe that the school shouldn't have been accredited at all. Or something. Without knowing what the defect was, it's hard to know whether I want to side with the feds or with AIU and its accreditors. Was AIU caught doing something seriously millish, selling degrees or falsifying student records or something? If so, then I'm inclined to cheer for the feds. Or is the new political regime over at DoEd just going to bat for the faculty unions, perhaps hesitant to mess with rich and litigious U. of Phoenix directly but still hoping to make life more difficult for smaller schools that appear to be emulating its model? I'd be less sure who to cheer for in that case. It would definitely be a shame to see the accreditor caught in the middle of a labor-political grudge-match. For most purposes, it probably wouldn't make much difference if the federal government did pull recognition from the NCA/HLC. If employers and other universities continue to recognize the accreditation, then things would continue on exactly like before. The two areas where delisting would hurt would be in students' eligibility for federal loan programs and in federal employment. But seriously, does the federal government really want to stop hiring graduates of the U. of Michigan, U. of Chicago, U. of Wisconsin, U. of Illinois, Notre Dame, Minnesota, Purdue, Ohio State... I don't think so. Does it want to hinder students from studying at some of the country's (and the world's) leading universities? Not likely. The feds are bluffing, they are playing chicken, trying to make HLC blink first. My own reading of the political tea-leaves is that the feds' hope is that the threat of the NCA/HLC being delisted might alarm the accreditors' membership enough to make them pressure its management to knuckle under to Washington's demands. That might not be an unreasonable expectation if a significant percentage of the membership already agrees with the feds' position on whatever this is about. Finally, the NCA/HLC really does seem to have a reputation as the easiest of the accreditors. It isn't just SACS schools that have bailed out of Florida for the warmer climate of Minnesota. We've seen them leaving California too. The U. of Phoenix was the creation of a San Jose State humanities professor (!!!), but WASC apparently didn't like its model so it moved to Phoenix. NCU spun off from the decidedly unspectacular California-approved SCUPS and it found it necessary to cross into Arizona as well. If truth be told, I'm not entirely against Washington leaning on the NCA/HLC to bring up its low-end a bit.