National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity

| Authority| Committee Background |Governance & Functions |
| Charter | Meetings | NACIQI Meeting Procedures |
Recognition Review Process | Committee Initiatives 2014-2015 |
| Members | FAQs |Contact Information |
| NACIQI 2012 Policy Report | NACIQI 2015 Policy Report |



The NACIQI operates in accordance with Section 114 of the HEA, as amended most recently by Section 106 of the HEOA in August 2008. The statute specifies that NACIQI provides recommendations to the Secretary of Education regarding:

  • The establishment and enforcement of criteria for recognition of accrediting agencies or associations under Subpart 2 of Part H, Title IV, of the HEA.
  • The recognition of specific accrediting agencies or associations or a specific State approval agency.
  • The preparation and publication of the list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies and associations.
  • The eligibility and certification process for institutions of higher education under Title IV, of the HEA.
  • The relationship between (1) accreditation of institutions of higher education and the certification and eligibility of such institutions, and (2) state licensing responsibilities with respect to such institutions.
  • Any other advisory functions relating to accreditation and institutional eligibility that the Secretary may prescribe.

The Committee also complies with all requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) and Government in the Sunshine Act. Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 602 contains regulations governing the NACIQI and the recognition process, including the criteria for recognition. In accordance with the FACA, the Committee’s Charter stipulates its authority, functions, and operating procedures, among other items.


Committee Background

The Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1952 (Section 253), established the authority for the recognition of accrediting agencies and state approval agencies. Since that time, the Secretary of Education, formerly the Commissioner of Education within the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, has published a list of recognized accrediting agencies and state approval agencies that the Secretary determines to be reliable authorities on the quality of education and training provided by the institutions and programs they accredit.

With the passage of the Higher Education Act (HEA) in 1965, Congress established the National Advisory Committee on Accreditation and Institutional Eligibility (NACAIE). The purpose of the NACAIE was to advise the then Commissioner of Education on current and future policies related to the recognition of accrediting agencies and to determine institutional eligibility for participation of education institutions in Federal assistance programs. The 15-member committee, appointed by the Commissioner, first met in September 1968.

With the 1992 amendments to the HEA, Congress established the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Improvement to replace the NACAIE. The NACIQI first met in 1994 and reviewed accrediting agencies based on established criteria. Later, the 1998 amendments to the HEA changed the Committee’s name from Improvement to Integrity. Ten years later in 2008, the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) amended the HEA again by altering the accreditation agencies’ recognition process and the structure of the NACIQI.


Governance and Functions

The Committee advises the Secretary of Education on matters related to postsecondary (or higher education) accreditation and the eligibility and certification process for higher education institutions to participate in the Federal student aid programs. Its primary function is to provide recommendations to the Secretary concerning whether accrediting entities’ standards are sufficiently rigorous and effective in their application to ensure that the entity is a reliable authority regarding the quality of the education or training provided by the institutions or programs it accredits. To meet that high standard, accrediting entities must demonstrate compliance with all the criteria for recognition. (See below for more information about the criteria for recognition.) If an accrediting entity is then recognized by the Secretary, then the postsecondary institutions it accredits may apply to participate in the Federal student aid programs. The Committee’s recommendations help ensure that the students who enroll in those institutions, and who receive an estimated $158 billion in Federal student aid annually, are attending quality postsecondary institutions.


Committee charter 2015: MS Word (47K) | PDF (41K)



Final staff reports are available to the public at: http://opeweb.ed.gov/aslweb/ Click on the “Public Documents” button. The reports are filed by committee and meeting date.

2016 Meetings

Spring 2016 Meeting

The following agencies on the June 22-24, 2016 agenda have been postponed to a later telephonic meeting that will be announced via this Web site and a Federal Register notice:

Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges
American Osteopathic Association, Osteopathic College Accreditation
Council on Occupational Education
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, Accreditation Commission

2015 Meetings

Fall 2015 Meeting

Spring 2015 Meeting

  • NACIQI Report: 2015 Accreditation Policy Recommendations, Higher Education Act Reauthorization PDF (353K)
  • June 25-26, 2015 - Sheration Pentagon City, 900 S. Orme Street, Arlington, VA 22204
  • Federal Register Notice: Third-Party Written and Oral Comments
  • Federal Register Notice: Meeting Notice
  • Meeting Agenda: MS Word (83K) | PDF (233K)
  • Report of the Meeting: MS Word (93K) | PDF (102K)
  • Transcript: June 25, 2015: MS Word (389K) | PDF (759K)
  • Transcript: June 26, 2015: MS Word (242K) | PDF (513K)

Virtual Meeting on NACIQI Accreditation Policy Recommendations – March 23, 2015

2014 Meetings

Fall 2014 Meeting

Spring 2014 Meeting

2013 Meetings

Fall 2013 Meeting

Spring 2013 Meeting

  • June 6-7, 2013 - Hyatt Arlington Hotel, 1325 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22209
  • Report of the Meeting: download files MS Word (118K) | PDF (153K)
  • Federal Register Notice: Third-Party Written and Oral Comments
  • Federal Register Notice: Meeting Notice
  • Meeting Agenda: download files MS Word (114K) | PDF (129K)
  • Remarks to NACIQI by Dr. Martha Kanter, Under Secretary, U.S. Department of Education : download files PDF (256K)
  • Transcripts
    June 6, 2013: download files MS Word (361K) | PDF (632K)
    June 7, 2013: download files MS Word (231K) | PDF (408K)

2012 Meetings

Fall 2012 Meeting

Spring 2012 Meeting

Teleconference Meeting to adopt NACIQI Report of Accreditation Policy Recommendations - April 13, 2012

2011 Meetings

Fall 2011 Meeting

December 14-16, 2011 - Crowne Plaza Old Town Alexandria, Washington Ballroom, 901 North Fairfax, Alexandria, VA 22314

Report of the Meeting: download files MS Word (213K) | PDF (341K)


Meeting Agenda: download files MS Word (125K) | PDF (107K)

Draft Report on the Reauthorization of the HEA: download files MS Word (60K) | PDF (103K)

Public Comments on the Draft Report on Reauthorization of the HEA

Federal Register Notices

Final Staff Reports: download files PDF (1.15MB)

Spring 2011 Meeting

Reauthorization Policy Documents
- Issue 1: Regulatory Burden and Data Needs
- Issue 2: The "Triad"
- Issue 3: Accreditor Scope, Alignment, and Accountability

February 2011 Accreditation Policy Forum

  • February 3-4, 2011 - Holiday Inn and Suites, Commonwealth Ballroom, 625 First Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
  • Report of the Meeting
  • Transcript
  • Meeting Agenda: download files PDF (24K)
  • Federal Register Notice: notice of open meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI), procedures for submitting third-party written comments, and procedures for making third-party oral comments at the meeting. download files PDF

2010 Meeting

Fall 2010 Meeting

Teleconference Meeting to Elect a Chair and Vice-Chair - November 8, 2010


NACIQI Meeting Procedures

The order of discussion for each agency at a NACIQI meeting is as follows:

  • Introduction of agency by NACIQI member;
  • Presentation by the Department of Education staff analyst who prepared the staff analysis;
  • Questions of the staff analyst by Committee members, starting with the assigned readers;
  • Comments by agency representatives;
  • Questions of agency representatives by Committee members, starting with the assigned readers;
  • Presentations by third-party commenters who submitted requests in advance and then by commenters who submitted requests on the meeting day and were selected to speak,
  • Questions of third-party commenters by Committee members, starting with the assigned readers;
  • Agency comments on third-party presentations (with any follow-up questions by Committee);
  • Staff comments on agency or third-party presentations (with any follow-up questions by Committee); and
  • Discussion and vote by Committee members.

Access the Guidelines for Oral Presentations from the Public: download files MS Word (63K) | PDF (95K)


Recognition Review Process

The types of reviews the NACIQI considers as part of the recognition process include:

  • Initial Recognition;
  • Renewal of Recognition;
  • Compliance Reports (formerly called Interim Reports);
  • Request for an Expansion or Contraction of Scope outside the regular review schedule;
  • Progress Reports;
  • Informational Reports; and
  • Reports of Significant Enrollment Growth.

A recognition decision is made by the Senior Department Official (the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education) within 90 days of the NACIQI meeting. It is based on the following items:

  • Material provided to NACIQI;
  • Transcript of NACIQI meeting;
  • NACIQI recommendation;
  • Staff recommendation;
  • Third party comments and responses; and
  • Other information/evidence allowed under certain conditions.

See http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg3.html#Recognition for a detailed description of the recognition review process.


Committee Initiatives 2014-2015

In December 2013, NACIQI identified the need to consider current policy issues now that the 2012 NACIQI report of policy recommendations was two years old, and a number of further discussions about the HEA reauthorization had transpired. A small subcommittee crafted a plan for developing the 2014-2015 NACIQI policy agenda. The policy agenda included a training webinar (http://fsatraining.acms.com/p65jlcciebo/); selected background readings; a set of invited policy papers ( PDF, turn on bookmarks to navigate); and a series of panel discussions during the June 2014 NACIQI meeting.

After various panel and committee discussions at the June 2014 meeting, the Committee concluded with four task areas and some overarching themes, to consider for the next steps in policy development. Two subcommittees were formed to address draft recommendations for each task area:

Task #1: Developing recommendations to SIMPLIFY

  • Considering common definitions, common language
  • Considering simplifications of the structure of higher education accreditation
  • Considering “zero-based” study of regulation
  • Considering possible alignments across “The Triad”
  • Considering ways to reduce data burden

Task #2: Developing recommendations to enhance NUANCE in the accreditation/recognition process

  • Considering “risk-based” accreditation
  • Considering variable/expedited terms/conditions of review of institutions and of agencies

Task #3: Developing recommendations about the relationship between quality/quality assurance and access to Title IV FUNDS

  • Considering a range of models of financial aid eligibility (differential access to aid; institutional “skin in the game;” two-key safe deposit model)
  • Considering indemnification of accreditors in adverse actions

Task #4: Developing recommendations about NACIQI’s role and function

  • Considering NACIQI’s role as a policy-advisory body
  • Considering NACIQI’s possible assistance in addressing “The Triad”
  • Considering NACIQI’s role in relation to the Dept. staff and expertise

Cross-cutting themes: considering all of the above, with issues of access, innovation, affordability, and quality in mind.

Subsequent to the December 11, 2014 NACIQI meeting, the draft report of accreditation policy recommendations (http://www2.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/naciqi-dir/2014-fall/naciqi-draft-recomendations-report-01012015.pdf) is undergoing a public comment period prior to final NACIQI action in 2015. Third Party Written Comments on Accreditation Policy Recommendations.



Membership Overview

The NACIQI is composed of 18 members with six-year membership terms (except for the terms of the Committee’s initial members).


Per the HEOA, individuals are appointed as NACIQI members –

  1. On the basis of the individuals’ experience, integrity, impartiality, and good judgment;
  2. From among individuals who are representatives of, or knowledgeable concerning, education and training beyond secondary education, representing all sectors and types of institutions of higher education (as defined in section 201 of the HEA), as well as a student representative; and
  3. On the basis of the individuals’ technical qualifications, professional standing, and demonstrated knowledge in the fields of accreditation and administration in higher education.

Membership Composition

Members are appointed equally by the Secretary, House of Representatives, and the Senate as follows:

  • Secretary - six appointees with three-year initial terms, including the student member;
  • House of Representatives – six appointees by the Speaker of the House with four-year initial terms; three of whom shall be recommended by the majority leader of the House and three of whom shall be recommended by the minority leader of the House; and
  • Senate – six appointees by the President pro tempore with six-year initial terms; three of whom shall be recommended by the majority leader of the Senate and three of whom shall be recommended by the minority leader of the Senate.

A vacancy on the Committee is filled in the same manner as the original appointment was made not later than 90 days after the date the vacancy occurs. The HEOA requires the Secretary to publish a Federal Register notice to solicit nominations for any of his/her vacancies. Also, the members of the Committee now select the Committee Chairperson (and Vice-Chair). The Committee decided at the Spring 2011 that the Chair and Vice-Chair would serve a three year-term.

List of Members (includes Nomination Source)

Susan D. Phillips, Ph.D., Chair (Education Department)
Susan D. Phillips has served as the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Vice President for Strategic Partnerships at the University at Albany/SUNY, and the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at the SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn. A recognized scholar of vocational psychology and career development, she has also worked in accreditation and educational quality assurance for the Regents of the State of New York and for professional psychology. She holds degrees from Stanford University (BA, Human Biology), Teachers College (MA, Psychology), and Columbia University (MPhil and PhD, Counseling Psychology).

Arthur E. Keiser, Ph.D., Vice Chair (House Republicans)
Arthur E. Keiser is the Chancellor of Keiser University.  Dr. Keiser was appointed by the Governor of Florida to the State Board of Independent Colleges and Universities and the State Board of Independent Postsecondary, Vocational, Technical, Trade and Business Schools.  He earned his doctorate degree in Higher Education Administration at the Union Institute and University in Cincinnati Ohio.

Kathleen Sullivan Alioto, Ed.D. (House Democrats)
Kathleen Sullivan Alioto has worked to improve public and private education in New York, Boston and San Francisco for almost fifty years. She brings a wealth of knowledge, critical understanding and vision that only experience with the myriad of challenges of education can provide. She began her career at an innovative public school in Harlem in 1967 and continued to teach in 1971 in Boston where, in addition to her continued classroom success in working with emotionally disturbed students and their parents, took on a school system in need of reform. This led to her campaigns and elections as a member and ultimately, President of Boston’s School Board during Boston’s Desegregation Crisis. She earned a Doctorate in Education at Harvard in 1980 and went on to make the case for diverse and low-income people nationally, assessing and prioritizing needs, strategically identifying leadership and opportunities to meet these needs, and finding philanthropic and legislative support and funding to improve programs in school systems and American community colleges. She has worked with families, students of all ages, philanthropic, corporate, political and foundation leaders, educators, and grant makers and assisted them in making a significant impact on the lives of low-income and immigrant communities, individuals who require specialized assessment and attention, and those with Cancer.

George “Hank” Brown (Senate Republicans)
George “Hank” Brown is Senior Counsel in Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck’s Denver office. He is a member of the Government Relations and Natural Resources groups. His practice focuses in industry areas such as banking, water, natural resources and public affairs and includes oil and gas law and water law. Throughout his 40-year career, Mr. Brown has held several positions in public service. Most recently, Mr. Brown served as the 21st President Emeritus of the University of Colorado (CU). His tenure at CU is marked by successes with record enrollment numbers, donations, diversity growth and the largest increase in state funding seen in the university’s 131-year history. His leadership was instrumental in increasing the university’s federal research funding to $640 million and reforming its governance process. Prior to his time at CU, Mr. Brown was president and CEO of the Daniels Fund where he is credited with reducing the organization’s overhead by 35 percent and shifting $2 million per year to increase grants and scholarships. From 1998 to 2002, Mr. Brown served as the 11th president of the University of Northern Colorado. Mr. Brown spent six years serving Colorado in the U.S. Senate, which was preceded by five consecutive terms in the U.S. House representing Colorado’s 4th Congressional District and four years in the Colorado Senate. From 1975 to 1976, Mr. Brown served in the Colorado State Senate and was elected Assistant Majority Leader in his first term. From 1962 to 1966, he served in the U.S. Navy where he volunteered his service in Vietnam and was decorated for his combat service as a forward air controller.

Simon J. Boehme (Education Department)
Simon J. Boehme is a Mitchell Scholar studying at Maynooth University’s Kennedy Institute for Conflict Intervention. He is pursuing a Masters degree in Mediation and Conflict Intervention. He graduated with honors from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial and Labor Relations and wrote his thesis on New York State’s public education teacher evaluation due process system. He is a 2014 Merrill Presidential Scholar, 2013 Truman Scholar, 2010 Coca-Cola Scholar, and 2009 Bezos Scholar. He is a guest lecturer on the topics of negotiations and employment relations for the Department of Law and Business School at Maynooth University and the School of Business at National University of Ireland Galway. He has worked at the Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution in Ithaca, New York; African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa; Grassroots Research and Advocacy Movement (GRAAM) in Mysore, India; and the White House in Washington, DC. In 2010, Simon led his high school to win the first White House Race to the Top Commencement Challenge. Simon was born and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Jill Derby, Ph.D. (Senate Democrats)
Jill Derby is a cultural anthropologist by background and training. Dr. Derby is currently the Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani in Kurdistan, and Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Guinn Center for Policy Priorities. Dr. Derby served as an adjunct faculty member in two Nevada colleges. She also served 18 years on the Nevada Board of Regents - the governing board of the Nevada System of Higher Education - filling three terms as board chair. She currently is a governance consultant for the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges.

Roberta L. (Bobbie) Derlin, Ph.D. (Education Department)
Bobbie Derlin is the Associate Provost for system-wide accreditation, assessment and planning at New Mexico State University (NMSU) in Las Cruces, NM. Dr. Derlin earned her B.S. in Psychology, M.S. in Experimental Psychology, and Ph.D. in Urban Education and Political Science from UW-Milwaukee. She also earned a MBA in accounting and finance from Cornell University. Dr. Derlin served as co-chair of the 1986 National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) Annual Meeting in New York and has served the Higher Learning Commission, as a peer reviewer, financial panel reviewer, and visiting team chair. Dr. Derlin is Past President of the New Mexico Higher Education Assessment and Retention Association and a past Chair of the Executive Committee of the Western Academic Leadership Forum, a Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) organization. Dr. Derlin serves on various boards and committees. These include President of the Tompkins Red Cross, Secretary and then Vice President of Tompkins County Planned Parenthood in Ithaca, New York and for multiple terms as President of La Casa, the Las Cruces, NM domestic violence shelter. She has been recognized by Rotary International as a Paul Harris Fellow.

John Etchemendy, Ph.D. (Education Department>
John Etchemendy is the provost of Stanford University. He has been a professor of philosophy at Stanford since 1983, prior to which he was on the faculty at Princeton University. He is the author or co-author of seven books and numerous articles in logic, and has been co-editor of the Journal of Symbolic Logic and on the editorial board of several other journals. He is a member of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges regional accreditation commission. Dr. Etchemendy has a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Nevada, Reno, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Stanford.

George T. French, Jr., Ph.D. (House Democrats)
George T. French, Jr. is the President of Miles College in Fairfield, AL. He formerly served as the Director of Development at Miles College and is a Christian Methodist Episcopal minister. Dr. French is a graduate of the University of Louisville with a law degree from Miles College.

Paul LeBlanc Ph.D. (Senate Democrats)
Dr. Paul J. LeBlanc is President of Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). Under the ten years of Paul’s direction, SNHU has more than quadrupled in size and is the largest provider of online higher education in New England, one of the five largest in the country, and the first to have a full competency-based degree program untethered to the credit hour or classes approved by a regional accreditor and the US Department of Education. In 2012 the university was #12 on Fast Company magazine’s “World’s Fifty Most Innovative Companies” list and was the only university included. Paul won a New England Higher Education Excellence Award in 2012 and had repeatedly been named one of “New Hampshire’s Most Influential People” by New Hampshire Business Review. In 2012 Forbes Magazine listed him as one of its 15 “Classroom Revolutionaries,” he was featured on Bloomberg TV’s “Innovators” series, and Fast Company included him in its “1000 Most Creative People” List. He speaks frequently to industry, IHEs, associations, and other higher education stakeholders and often appears in the media. Paul immigrated to the United States as a child, was the first person in his extended family to attend college, and is a graduate of Framingham State University (BA), Boston College (MA), and the University of Massachusetts (PhD). From 1993 to 1996 he directed a technology start up for Houghton Mifflin Publishing Company, was President of Marlboro College (VT) from 1996 to 2003, and became President of SNHU in 2003. His wife Patricia is an attorney and their daughter Emma is a Rhodes Scholar completing a D.Phil at Oxford University. Younger daughter Hannah is completing her PhD at Stanford University. Annie, their black Labrador Retriever, studies sleeping on the couch and ways to steal food from the counter tops.

Anne D. Neal, J.D. (Senate Republicans)
Ms. Neal co-founded the American Council of Trustees and Alumni and has been president since 2003. Prior to joining ACTA, she served as General Counsel for the National Endowment for the Humanities. She also worked as a First Amendment and communications lawyer for Rogers & Wells, and for Wiley Rein & Fielding and as Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of the Recording Industry Association of America. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Harvard College with an A.B. in American history and literature and received her J.D. from Harvard Law School. She has served on the boards of many cultural, environmental and civic organizations and is currently a trustee of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association and the Alexander Hamilton Institute.

Richard F. O'Donnell (Senate Republicans)
Richard O’Donnell is the Founder & CEO of College Portfolio and is currently the Senior Vice President for New Markets for The Fullbridge Program. From 1998 to 2006, he served in the Colorado Governor’s Cabinet as Executive Director of the Department of Regulatory Agencies and as Executive Director of the Department of Higher Education. Mr. O’Donnell is a graduate of Colorado College with a B.A. in History/Political Science.

Arthur J. Rothkopf, J.D. (House Republicans)
Arthur J. Rothkopf is the President Emeritus of Lafayette College. Previously, he served as the senior vice-president and counselor to the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. He earned his B.A. from Lafayette College and his law degree from Harvard Law School.

Cameron C Staples, J.D. (Senate Democrats)
Cameron C. Staples is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the New England Association of Schools & Colleges, Inc. He is a former Representative in the Connecticut General Assembly. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University, his Master’s degree in Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania, and a J.D. from the University of Connecticut, School of Law.

Ralph Wolff, J.D.(House Democrats)
Ralph Wolff is an independent policy consultant focusing on accreditation and quality assurance processes, working in the US and internationally. He previously served as the president of the WASC Senior College and University Commission from 1996 through August 2013, and as Associate Executive Director since 1981. He is a member of the University Quality Assurance International Board (UQAIB) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and on the National Advisory Boards of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) and for the Lumina Foundation on the Degree Qualifications Profile. He also is a member of the Board of Trustees of the United States International University Africa, located in Nairobi, Kenya and Palo Alto University. He has published multiple articles and book chapters on accreditation, quality assurance, distance education, and the changing role of the library. For his service in support of quality assurance and improvement in the WASC region and nationally he was awarded in 2008 the Virginia B. Smith Award for Innovation in Higher education and, in 2013, an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by Loma Linda University. Current projects include a research study of quality assurance standards for international branch campuses from the perspectives of the sending and receiving countries, and developing a new registry for better understanding of the meaning and standards for degree, certificates, badges, etc. Before joining the staff of WASC, Mr. Wolff was one of the founders of the Antioch School of Law in Washington DC, which now continues to operate as the David A. Clarke Law School at the University of the District of Columbia. The law school was the first ever designed to prepare lawyers to serve in public interest and poverty law settings. He later became dean of the Antioch Graduate School of Education, heading five programs in seven states. He also served as Associate Provost, setting up internal quality assurance processes for the geographically dispersed college. In 1976, he was appointed a law professor at the University of Dayton. He continues to be a member of the Washington, DC bar. A graduate of Tufts University, Mr. Wolff received his JD with honors from the National Law Center at George Washington University.

Frank H. Wu, J.D. (Education Department)
Frank H. Wu is Distinguished Professor at the University of California Hastings College of Law. He was a member of the faculty at Howard University, the nation’s leading historically black college/university, for a decade. He currently is a Trustee of Deep Springs College, and he was previously a Trustee of Gallaudet University, the only university in the world dedicated to deaf and hard of hearing persons. Mr. Wu received his Bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and his J. D. from the University of Michigan.

Federico Zaragoza, Ph.D. (Education Department)
Dr. Federico Zaragoza is the Vice Chancellor for Economic and Workforce Development at Alamo Colleges.  Under his leadership, Alamo Colleges received the prestigious American Association of Community College Trustees’ Workforce Excellence Award for implementing exemplary job training programs for Toyota, Boeing, Standard Aero and Lockheed Martin.  He is credited with the implementation of the nationally recognized Alamo Area Academy STEM Pathways, and Alamo Colleges Workforce Specialty Centers. In June 2014, U.S. Secretary of Education, Anne Duncan appointed Dr. Zaragoza to serve on the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI), to enforce national education standards for accrediting agencies.

2016 Federal Register Notice of Members: Required Annual Members List


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Does the Department of Education accredit any postsecondary institutions or programs?

No, the Department of Education does not accredit any postsecondary institutions or programs. However, the U.S. Secretary of Education (Secretary) is required by law to publish a list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies that the Secretary determines to be reliable authorities as to the quality of education or training provided by the institutions of higher education and the higher education programs they accredit. The Secretary also recognizes State agencies for the approval of public postsecondary vocational education and nurse education.

Q. May the U.S. Department of Education interfere with an institution’s decision concerning a student or faculty matter?

A. No, The Department of Education’s Organization Act does not permit the Department to have any control over an institution’s academic, student, or personnel administration. Section 103(b) of that Act reads:

"No provision of a program administered by the Secretary or by any other officer of the Department shall be construed to authorize the Secretary or any other such officer to exercise any direction, supervision of control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, over any accrediting agency or association, or over the selection or content of library resources, textbooks, or other instructional materials by any educational institution or schools system, except to the extent authorized by law."

Q. How do I file a complaint about a school or accrediting body?

A. Matters concerning disputes between a student and a faculty member or an administrator over such issues as billing, grading, financial aid, or employment is considered an individual dispute between the parties at an institution. Such disputes are best resolved by the parties involved, through an institution’s Ombudsman, or through the legal system.

Contact an institution’s accrediting body if there is evidence that appears to support the institution’s non-compliance with one or more of its accrediting body’s standards. Clearly identify the standard and how the institution allegedly does not comply. Accrediting agencies should not be contacted in regard to admission information or issues involving application of an institution’s academic policies.

Q. What is the role of an accrediting agency?

A. The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets basic, acceptable levels of quality. Accrediting agencies (which are private educational associations of regional, national, or programmatic scope) develop evaluation criteria and conduct peer evaluations to assess whether or not those criteria are met. Institutions and/or programs that request an agency's evaluation and that meet an agency's criteria are then "accredited" by that agency. Many accrediting agencies are also involved in continuous quality improvement activities.

Q. Is accreditation mandatory for a postsecondary institution or program?

A. Accreditation is an optional, voluntary evaluation for an institution of higher education or one of its programs, but desirable. Accreditation by an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education is mandatory for the school’s students to be eligible to participate in any Federal student aid program.

Q. Can an accreditor close a school?

A. An accrediting agency may not close an institution. A State has the authority to issue a license for a school to operate and may close it as well. (Keep in mind that just because a school is licensed, it does not necessarily mean that it is accredited. Licensure simply gives an institution the legal right to operate and the standards required for licensure may differ significantly from those required for accreditation.) Whereas, an accrediting agency assures that the institution or program it accredits meets the accrediting agency’s standards.

Q. How can I obtain student learning outcome data concerning an institution?

A. Contact the school directly for the information. Most accrediting institutions do not provide individual institution’s student learning outcome data to the public.

Q. Can the institutional accreditation system be used to determine whether my credit hours will transfer or what courses will satisfy my professional license requirements?

A. Accreditation does not provide automatic acceptance by an institution of credit earned at another institution, nor does it give assurance of acceptance of graduates by employers. Acceptance of students or graduates is always the prerogative of the receiving institution or employer. For these reasons, besides ascertaining the accredited status of a school or program, students should inquire about whether their educational goals will be met through attendance at a particular institution prior to enrollment or what courses will satisfy professional licensure requirements early in their college career. These measures should include inquiries to institutions to which transfer might be desired, a review of admissions requirements at prospective graduate schools, or with prospective employers or related professional organizations.

Q. Where can I go for information about diploma mills, accreditation mills, scholarship scams, the evaluation of foreign credentials, college credit for life experiences, and other consumer protection information related to accreditation?

A. Access the diploma mills Web page.


Contact Information

For more information concerning the Committee, please contact Jennifer Hong, Ed.D., NACIQI Executive Director and Designated Federal Official, at (202) 453-6185, E-mail address: jennifer.hong@ed.gov


Last Modified: 07/27/2016