The Watchdogs of College Education Rarely Bite

Most colleges can’t keep their doors open without an accreditor’s seal of approval, which is needed to get students access to federal loans and grants. But accreditors hardly ever kick out the worst-performing colleges and lack uniform standards for assessing graduation rates and loan defaults, according to The Wall Street Journal. Those problems are blamed by critics for deepening the student-debt crisis as college costs soared during the past decade. Last year alone, the U.S. government sent $16 billion in aid to students at four-year colleges that graduated less than one-third of their students within six years, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal of the latest available federal data.

Since the early 20th century, the U.S. government has relied on accreditors to ensure that the thousands of American colleges are maintaining the needed standards to offer their students a fair chance of graduating and a fair chance at affording college. While accreditors have occasionally been a part of a process which brings underperforming colleges to an end, most accreditors only see it as their job to help existing colleges improve.

As rates of student default on college loans continue to increase and the overall amount of American student college debt continues to skyrocket, more questions are rightly being asked of the colleges with the lowest graduation rates and the highest rates of default. This report by The Wall Street Journal calls out the role of accreditors in this ongoing problem.

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