Question: What happens to students' ability to get loans if a field's only recognized accreditor loses recognition?
Answer: Not much, if you go to a US school. Non US school... not much.
Turns out, accreditation really *doesn't* have anything to do with money. Here's why...
According to an email exchange back in November with Carol Griffiths, director of the NACIQI:
Accreditation by the programmatic accreditor does not determine access to Title IV loans;
institutional accreditation does.
OK, let's back up. First, what's a Title IV loan?
refers to a section of the Higher Education Act
, the federal law that authorizes student loans. Title IV is the section of that law authorizing the major student loan programs, including the most common: Direct (also called Stafford or FFEL) and the unlimited funds of GradPLUS.
OK, so what's a programmatic accreditor?
There are two types of accreditors: programmatic and regional. Regional accreditors have, as one would suspect, a geographic scope, such as the Pacific northwest or the entire southeast or New England. The regional accreditors accredit entire institutions, and thus all the programs in that institution.
Programmatic accreditors only accredit programs, not whole universities. So the AVMA COE is a programmatic accreditor- it accredits only those programs leading to a doctorate of veterinary medicine, regardless of what university that vet school is at. Most professions have a programmatic or specialized accreditor just for their field; this is because programs within a specialized field like veterinary medicine or law are assumed to have more in common with each other, than with the other programs at their respective university (or the other universities in the area). The LCME
is the programmatic accreditor for human MD programs, for example, and the ABA, American Bar Association, is the programmatic accreditor for law schools
As long as the institution remains accredited, it doesn't make any difference for loan purposes if a program at that institution is accredited by a programmatic accreditor, or if the programmatic accreditor is recognized by the USDE.
Let's use Cornell as an example. Because Cornell University remains accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education
, which is on the ED recognized regional accreditors
list, Cornell students can borrow Title IV federal student loans- whether they are studying veterinary medicine, law, english or medieval art museum curation
. COE can cease to be recognized, or Cornell CVM can choose to stop seeking accreditation from COE, without affecting students' access to unlimited loans.
Everybody who squalled that overseas schools were only pursuing COE accreditation because it enables federal student loans?
Well, sort of.
Those institutions would not be otherwise eligible because there's no regional accreditor outside the US. Except after July 15, there could be- see my post on the new regs for non US schools.
Where US institutions are universally accredited by regional as well as programmatic accreditors, non US schools are not- and it is the regional accreditation that enables students at that program to borrow federal loans.
So if accreditation doesn't mean money for US schools, why bother? Why did Western want to be accredited badly enough to sue AVMA? Because of access to licensure. If you graduate from an accredited program, you have >90% chance of licensure (less than 10% don't pass the national licensure exam). However if you don't graduate from an AVMA accredited DVM program, before you can take the exam you have to go through either PAVE or ECFVG
at a cost of about $8000 and another year of your life.
Shouldn't we want schools to seek accreditation, to make it cheaper and faster for their graduates to start proving their ability to serve society ?