As reported by Evolllution, Blue Marble University and other alternative universities, the real cost of accreditation lies in the spread of quality-guarding “helpers” who want to add to the pile of unneeded, unvalidated, and often outdated processes and requirements. It is not uncommon for a state university to have to respond to 40 or more different accreditors. Stanford University, ranked usually top five in the world, spends eight cents of every tuition dollar on accreditation. The good news, as we have seen on social media lately, is that more and more people around the world are embracing the advantages of innovative online education and are “voting” their acceptance by increasing their attendance at online universities—accredited or not. The focus of higher education has increasingly shifted from institutions to students. Online learning has provided a platform for rethinking delivery models, and much of the current accreditation process is not designed to account for these new approaches.
According to David Bergeron – who joined the Center for American Progress after a long stint at the U.S. Department of Education, accreditation should be based on learning outcomes, rather than on the credit-hour standard. This could promote clusters of learning in education to be classified as “recognised credentials” under the Higher Education Act. Bergeron said that the currency for accreditation could be a set of learning activities and the outcomes it produces. On the same vein, the CEO of StraighterLine Courses said that if a non-college provider can meet the standards of a college course, it should be treated the same way as an accredited institution. He has called out to U.S. lawmakers to allow accreditation to be approved at the course level, rather than the degree level.