Some Background and a Status Report on State Authorization

The complex and confusing topic of state authorization of higher education institutions has grown even more murky over the past few weeks. Let’s clarify the current state of the issue. Part of the confusion occurs because the U.S. Department of Education uses the words “state authorization” in at least two ways. In the first instance, state authorization refers to the action that a state takes to approve (authorize) an institution offering postsecondary education to be established within the state. The legal background for that work is widely misunderstood; to lessen that misunderstanding I recommend a book by my good friend and colleague Alan Contreras – College and State: Resources and Philosophies.

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