Under Executive Order 13781, President Trump has initiated a reorganization of the Executive Branch. Part of that reorganization involves soliciting suggestions for “in the organization and functioning of the executive branch.”
Seeking to implement the executive order, the United States Department of Education specifically asked for advice from the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). CHEA is the organization that accredits the accreditors, and it functions as a buffer between the individual accrediting agencies and the USDE.
Here is CHEA’s response. CHEA recommends removing the federal definition of a credit hour and dispensing with the state authorization rules. It also suggests several other changes, including streamlining the process for what are called “substantive changes.” These recommendations reflect the position of CHEA as set forth in a position paper on regulatory relief, issued in April of 2017.
Effectively, CHEA is working to prevent or at least mitigate direct, federal oversight over higher education. Some lawmakers have been pressing for greater federal involvement in higher ed, especially given the federal dollars that go into education.