Is ASIC an end run around recognized accreditation?

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by Bruce, Oct 16, 2015.

  1. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    I'm not convinced that possession of ASIC accreditation signifies that an unknown internet university offers the kind of academic credibility that I'm looking for. (Something more or less equivalent to what better recognized universities offer.)

    If somebody graduates in a particular major at an RA school, I have reasonable confidence that they have learned the subject to a standard that I recognize. I have the same confidence regarding European, Australian, Japanese, Canadian and many other schools. I have similar confidence (perhaps a bit less) regarding DEAC and ACICS schools.

    But I don't have nearly the same kind of confidence about ASIC accredited degree-granters.

    So sure, we can say that ASIC is an accreditor and that the schools they accredit are in fact accredited by them. The problem (both for prospective students and for their employers) is knowing what ASIC accreditation communicates about the educational qualities of the schools that possess it.
  2. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Johann: "Yes, that's the complaint..."
    Dr. Rich: "No, that's not the complaint..."

    Aside from that one difference, I agree with everything else in Rich's post. Especially the "comparison to DEAC doesn't work" part. :smile:
    I still feel that the complaint, as stated by Steve, boils down to lack of utility - and that, to me, is a VERY valid objection. But certainly not the only one.

    I think Steve's usual position is that, in the US, the separation of accreditation and degree-granting authority is a sacred thing, like Church and State, that must never be intertwined. I didn't get into that issue here, because I feared "poking the bear" yet again. But (sigh) now...

    Like Steve, I, too, am "capable of independent thought" - a quote from a recent post of his. I think Rich is quite right - accreditation by American bodies (RA and NA) does imply recognition as a degree-granting entity. And ASIC is honest enough to state clearly that its accreditation doesn't have anything to do with that.

    As Dr. Douglas also pointed out - the schools accredited by ASIC should always make that same distinction clear. I've certainly seen attempts by schools (I name no names) to obfuscate that issue. Well, what can we expect of some schools?


    (1)I still think potential lack of degree-utility is valid cause for concern when choosing a school.
    (2)Yes - accreditation means two different things in the UK and the US.
    (3) ASIC states that honestly. Some schools tend to um- approach it differently.

    BTW - I note we have now identified at least three specific instances where ASIC appears to have rescinded accreditation.

    (a) California Paramount U.
    (b) Orlando University - was at www - orlandouniversity -dot-com (not the other one).
    (c) Yuin University - Checked today - no longer ASIC emblem etc. on site

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 18, 2015
  3. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    In the U.S. accreditation is very important as a gateway to federal financial aid and as a means by which most other institutions decide whether to accept credit in transfer and credentials for further study. But it is not the source of degree granting authority, legally, states are. To say otherwise is to say that, for example, WISR doesn't have degree granting authority when I think it's clear that it does.
  4. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    I disagree. It is at the heart of the discussion on a sliding scale of acceptance. Legally speaking, WISR and AIU are indistinguishable (though, I would guess AIU is structured as a for-profit whereas WISRis a non-profit). There are really only two positions to take here: 1) no accreditation = no Bueno. If it is unaccredited it is crap and if it is accredited it is, at a minimum, "OK." Alternatively, we accept that "unaccredited" describes a large spectrum of schools ranging from outright scams to schools that will, in all likelihood, become accredited some day relatively soon.

    The latter makes the role of ASIC, as it pertains to unaccredited US Schools, a question of whether an ASIC school has any greater utility or acceptability over a non-ASIC (and still institutionally unaccredited school). Utility? Not so much. ASIC is not a substitute for institutional accreditation in the US. But while it may just be a QA check it is a QA check in a world where no QA checks tend to exist. It is, if nothing else, a nod that some external agency is saying this school prepares a quality curriculum. And if you're considering unaccredited schools (for some reason) that isn't a terribly measure to tip your scale.

    As for your assertion that DEAC "recognizes a school as a degree-granting authority" I think the key word in there you just danced around is "recognize." DEAC does not grant the authority to award degrees. A school, to become DEAC accredited, must have degree granting authority prior to applying. That authority, as you are keenly aware from your work with WISR, comes from the state. If California didn't approve the EdD program at WISR it would not be going to ACICS for accreditation and ACICS has no authority to tell WISR it can award a degree that the state of California says it cannot.

    So, in the sense of "the word accreditation has different meanings" that is certainly true. A UK college can be accredited by say, the University of Wales. And every degree awarded by said college is actually awarded by the university of Wales. That's very different from how things work in the US. But ASIC not conferring degree granting authority is not terribly different from our system because none of our accrediting agencies actually confer degree granting authority, that authority comes from the state.
  5. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Indeed the authority does come from the state. But RA or NA accreditation greatly affects the utility, recognition and standing the school's degrees will be accorded and how they will ultimately be perceived. ASIC - not nearly the same effect in the US and they're reasonably good at stating that. Their brand of accreditation is clearly different from mainstream US - and they don't deny it.

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 18, 2015
  6. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    WISR is an interesting example. Yes, they have degree-granting authority. So does AIU. But neither appear on any authoritative list of degree-granting, higher education institutions in the U.S. Why? Because they're not accredited.

    All of this is--and has always been--because of the hands-off nature of higher education in the U.S. If the government would recognize that this is an interstate commerce issue--which you cannot deny--it would regulate it as such. Then, through the commerce clause, it could either take recognition authority for itself or, more likely, delegate it to the accrediting agencies recognized by USDoE. Boot the states and their varying standards to the curb. Consumers--students and the employers who hire them--don't make these distinctions very often, and often do it with inaccuracy and imperfect information. There ought to be some common standards. And you can't count on reciprocity like you do with marriage or drivers' licenses. Can you imagine convincing the New York Regents to recognize a state-licensed school in Hawaii?

    Do that, and provide a gateway for the yet-accredited schools currently in existence, and we'd be done with the whole thing. There was a time there in the 1970s and 1980s when something like California's approval system was vital to allow for creative and nontraditional schools to operate. But with the RAs, PAs, and NAs doing what they're doing, there really isn't any excuse anymore for a school to stay unaccredited.

    The states are never going to band together to solve this nationwide, but obscure issue. The federal government should step in.
  7. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    First, I don't "dance around" a word, subject, or anything else.

    The distinction you're trying to make--that it's the states who award degree-granting authority--is a minor point overall. In fact, the whole idea is that state-authorization/licensure/etc. isn't sufficient to make a school a recognized, degree-granting institution, even if it can legally award degrees. Legal. But not recognized as part of the educational structure. In the U.S., that comes from accreditation. The state licensure stuff is just preliminary. It's like going to see your GP to get you referral to the specialist. It won't get you cured, but its a necessary step.

    By the way, your WISR example is off. WISR has to seek recognized accreditation because the state is threatening to require it of all schools awarding many states do. No accreditation, no state approval. It cuts both ways (or will).

    To cite Levicoff, the "but it's LEEEEEEEEEEEEEEGAL" argument is pointless. It affects a few schools in a few states. Graduates often benefit from the fact that no one looks very closely. You probably won't go to jail by using a degree from an unaccredited, state-licensed school. And in some cases, it can legitimately advance your career (see Barry Johnson, for example). But it can also ruin one (see Laura Callahan).

    A school isn't part of the U.S. higher education system until it has recognized accreditation. That doesn't mean it can't operate as a tertiary institution, but it's on the fringes, subjecting its graduates to all kinds of difficulties graduates from accredited schools do not face. And ASIC accreditation doesn't change that a bit--nor is it designed to do so.
  8. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    I wasn't trying to pass judgment on you, as a person, Rich. But I simply have no other way to describe the linguistic pirouette you did around the word "recognize." Steve offered a comparison. Your retort falls apart with the word "recognize" as DEAC, in many ways, functions similarly to ASIC. Neither grant degree awarding authority.

    I fail to see how it is a minor point. Degree authority comes from the state, not the accreditation agency. Not here, not in the UK, not really anywhere. As to being "legal but not part of the educational structure" it rather depends upon the state and the school.

    If a school awards degrees that are licensure qualifying then they most certainly are part of the state's "educational structure." That other, accredited schools, may not accept those credentials is a matter of internal policy. If we say that a state can't define what constitutes education and that such duty falls exclusively to a private entity then we would indeed live in a libertarian paradise. Fortunately, we do not. As the state of California, through its various agencies, has extended that imprimatur to a few schools. Even Oregon has, in the past, extended recognition to unaccredited schools for the purpose of professional licensure.

    But I suspect that you are, instead, referring to "the world of higher Ed" as determined by its members. But again, there are notable exceptions even to that.

    What you are saying about WISR has nothing to do with what I said about WISR. I am aware that they are being compelled to seek accreditation. Until they receive it, however, they have the exact same legal status as AIU in terms of being unaccredited schools operating under state approval.

    The difference is that we have had highly respected members of this forum(including you) come on here and publicly vouch for WISR. Your good word is not a substitute for institutional accreditation but it is enough to tip that, as you call it, "sliding scale of acceptance" in a more favorable direction. Qualification for licensure for some of their masters programs tips that scale even further. The question before us is whether ASIC would be one of those factors as well.

    I never made that argument. Im not trying to say that ASIC is a replacement for institutional accreditation (a point I have stated directly numerous times) or that institutional accreditation is unnecessary, undesirable or anything of the sort. I've actually stated my premise numerous times and you continue to instead revert to your talking points on how ASIC isn't a replacement for institutional accreditation. A point, by the way, that no one is arguing with.
  9. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Here's a simple test: no one asks if a university is licensed by its respective state. You never see such a thing as a job requirement. No where. Simply no where. But the accreditation requirement is seen all over the place.

    Sure, being licensed by your state is a prelude to accreditation, but it is a teeny, tiny one that almost no one is looking for. The concepts are not even in the same conversation anywhere such a conversation is taking place.

    And ASIC doesn't change a thing.
  10. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    What exactly is that a "simple test" for?

    Rich, no one is disagreeing with the bulk of what you are saying. You are essentially having an argument with yourself. No one is trying to say that state approval is "good enough." At least not in this thread.

    Further, your statement is factually incorrect. Virtually every job posting for state employment in the state of New York that has a degree requirement states the degree must be awarded by a regionally accredited school or one registered with the New York Board of Regents.

    Registration is New York's state approval process. Granted, New York is also a bit weird in that the Board of Regents has an accreditation program that is recognized by the USDOE. And, granted, there are few institutions that would fall into the category of "registered" but not "accredited." Though they do exist.

    The most obvious (and recent) example was Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary. They are now institutionally accredited by the Board of Regents. Prior to that, however, their degrees were simply registered (state approved) and unaccredited. Though a bachelors from HTOS in the pre-accredited days would certainly meet the requirement for state employment.

    This snippet is the conclusive proof I needed to show that you aren't actually reading replies. If you look at my most recent post, I, for I believe the fourth time, again assert that I have never claimed anything of the sort and that your continued insistence of this point is not something I am disputing.

    Since you're clearing not reading this and bent on just regurgitating the same talking points regardless of their relevance to the conversation at hand, I'm just going to paste some of my favorite song lyrics.

  11. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Well, that was rude and personal. I'm fine leaving it with what I wrote. If you find me unresponsive, you now know why.
  12. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    You have spent the entirety of this thread disregarding what I said and attacking a straw man. Sorry, Rich, but you pretty much took the cake for "rude" here. Stomp off if you wish. But a doctorate (or two, as the case may be) is not a substitute for presenting a logical argument. If you ignore the premise and insist on just repeating yourself as you attack something I never said then I'm just not going to have a discussion with you.

    I respect you, and your contributions here, immensely. I would strongly recommend you re-read what all was said in this thread and consider how disconnected your repeated assertions were from the initial premise as I strongly suspect you simply came into this discussion assuming it was a standard "state approval is good enough" type of discussion and just went into autopilot.
  13. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry you feel disregarded. It wasn't my intent, but neither was it to regard you. And as far as I know, I'm not responsible for meeting your expectations.
    I didn't say a word to you at all until you directed your comments towards me (only 2 days ago; I guess I was "ignoring" you until then?), and even then what I posted was not about you and could hardly be construed as rude.
    I didn't "stomp off." I didn't even excuse myself from the thread. I just said I'd let what I posted stand on its own. I will continue doing that.
    Speaking of a strawman argument...I didn't say anything about my education buttressing my viewpoint. This is your construct.
    It's only fair. After all, I certainly wasn't trying to have a discussion with you. (I would still rather not.) In fact, this appears to be one of your two criticisms of me--the other being the lack of quality of an argument. I would have preferred it if you had never addressed me, either sticking to what I wrote or ignoring it. I'm not sure why you chose to switch to me, but I have no intention of returning in-kind. Whether or not I post something else to this thread is my own decision, of course. But thank you for your feedback.
    Funny, it doesn't feel that way. But I don't really care either way. Feel, think, do, or say whatever you please. That's your issue, not mine.
    Again, thank you for your feedback. I feel your assertions are baseless and your assessment is wrong, but that's not really important. And I certainly don't feel like defending it...or myself. Finally, I have no desire to criticize you, either. In fact, I would rather see this thread return to its original topic. There is a PM function on this board. Your personal message could be directed through it so others might be saved this exchange. Either way, I choose not to be drawn into this conversation further.
  14. mbwa shenzi

    mbwa shenzi Active Member

    While ASIC accreditation is meaningful and ncessary for UK schools that are neither registered nor listed bodies (and thus not formally part of the UK higher education system) but recruiting foreign students under the Tier 4 visa system, it's completely optional and voluntary for universities and colleges that are in the lists of recognized and listed bodies. Recognition through a Royal charter or Act of Parliament, following a decision by the Privy Council means that a UK university is also accredited, although it has to undergo periodical reviews by the QAA, typically every six years. ASIC as an independent agency has no say whatsoever when it comes to quality control of recognized UK institutions but are perfectly legitimate and free to accredit anything they see fit for accreditation, including the institute of sports of Bolton Wanderers Football Club.

    To the best of my knowledge, ASIC has no mandate to accredit foreign universities, but on the other hand, there's nothing in UK legislation that prohibits them from doing so either. To many of us working in the field of academic recognition, ASIC accreditation is irrelevant, since what we look for is acceptable accreditation in - as in the case of quite a few ASIC accredited universities - for example the US. In some countries, universities have no other choice than to follow the recommendations of their respective ENIC-NARIC offices which effectively rules out US universities with national accreditation. In other countries, universities are governmental agencies in their own right and are free to take their own decisions on admission and credit transfer. Where I work, we also pay attention to the quality of education, and are not bound by any recommendations from our ENIC-Naric office, so at times we admit graduated of nationally accredited US universities too. In the event that a university is also ASIC accredited, we say "well, good for them" but it doesn't influence our decisions at all.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 21, 2015
  15. novadar

    novadar Member

    I don't quite understand what you are saying here. Are we to always preface our positions with a statement to the effect of "based upon my education, training, life experience..." before we post anything?

    So here goes.... Based upon my experience it is generally acceptable to assume that when someone issues a statement or position on any topic that they are using all of their experience, education, and knowledge to do so.
  16. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    No, I'm refuting the strawman offered up about my doctorates by noting that I said nothing about them. That was the poster's construct, not mine, even though he/she was implying otherwise.

    It would be very boring indeed if every poster led each post with a brief reminder of his/her resume.

    Sometimes it is relevant, however. For example, if one held a degree from a school that lied about offering a PhD (which it did because it was listed as accredited by a professional organization on that organization's website and subsequently confirmed it during a telephone conversation) that was not within the scope of its accreditation, then lied about it when the accreditor called them on it, and one wanted to offer that degree up as support for one's opinion on a particular subject, one could. Not that anyone has done that, of course. But it would be okay.
  17. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    No, it was not my "construct." I never accused you of doing or saying anything. I merely said that having a doctorate does not substitute logical argument. It does not. This is true of any holder of a doctorate in any argument. It was a statement about your fallacious argument.

    That you misconstrued this to be a strawman argument (though your comments indicate this may also have been an underhanded ad hominem attack) shows that you are taking an internet discussion entirely too personally and reaffirming my belief that most internet forum disagreements would never occur were the conversation to be had in-person. Tone, inflection and non-verbal cues would likely alter the course of many of these discussions.
  18. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    Well, when an American school runs around and goes and gets some accreditation from some off-brand British accreditation,m I get suspicious.
  19. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  20. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

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