School Accreditation:

Activities of Seven Agencies That Accredit Proprietary Schools

HRD-90-179BR: Published: Sep 12, 1990. Publicly Released: Sep 12, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed information on the activities of seven agencies that accredited for-profit or proprietary schools that may participate in the Department of Education's Stafford Student Loan Program.

GAO found that, between fiscal years 1985 and 1989: (1) the 7 agencies accredited 1,880 schools and denied 281 accreditation applications; (2) 6 agencies deferred accreditation of 437 schools and accredited or rejected those schools after a second review; (3) the National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences (NACCAS) and the National Association of Trade and Technical Schools (NATTS) reaccredited the largest number of schools; (4) the 7 agencies terminated the accreditation of 315 proprietary schools; (5) NACCAS accounted for over 30 percent of schools with terminated accreditation; (6) over 200 schools accredited by NACCAS and NATTS did not reapply for accreditation once it expired; (7) the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training accredited 65 branch campuses without site visits, but in May 1990 began conducting on-site visits to branch campuses as a condition of accreditation; (8) the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools, the National Home Study Council, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools' Commission on Occupational Educational Institutions reported that they did not accredit schools without conducting a site visit; and (9) the Association of Independent Colleges and Schools, NACCAS, and NATTS cited their policies requiring on-site visits to schools but did not provide information on the number of schools they accredited without conducting a site visit.

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