Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The efficacy of regional accreditation compared to direct public regulation of post-secondary institutions in the United States
by Hall, John Robert, III, Ed.D., University of Southern California, 2012, 95; 3542426
Abstract (Summary)

Accreditation has been the primary regulatory model for higher education in the United States since the 19th century. As the federal government became more involved in funding higher education in the 1960s, it began assuming more of a regulatory role. Accreditation agencies and the United States Department of Education (DOE) coupled with market forces now play significant oversight roles. Some policymakers have argued for even greater federal involvement triggering a debate on the efficacy of oversight models.

This study surveyed higher education leaders to determine their experience with accreditation and the DOE as well views on which oversight model is more efficacious in the areas of student success, student return on investment, innovation, institutional autonomy, oversight capacity, quality, and academic prestige. Data from public sources was also analyzed to determine if countries with historically significant public regulation had inferior performing systems when compared to the American model. Countries were ranked based on college attainment rates, representation in ranking indices, and estimates of gross earning benefit yielded by higher education.

This study as well as prior research suggests accreditation coupled with market forces and some federal oversight to be most appropriate when compared to dominant public regulation. These findings are not a validation of accreditation but a practical conclusion based on the potential consequences of European-style public intervention. Additional research is needed to determine the level of causation between oversight models and key metrics in higher education as well as to better establish what the most effective oversight model should include.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Keim, Robert G.
Commitee: Hentschke, Guilbert C., Yates, Kenneth
School: University of Southern California
Department: Education(Leadership)
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 74/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher Education Administration, Educational leadership, Education Policy
Keywords: Accreditation, Europe, For-profit education, Meta-regulation, Regulation, United States
Publication Number: 3542426
ISBN: 9781267701244
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