Conyers Introduces the “Protecting Students from Worthless Degrees Act”
Making Programmatic Accreditation or State Licensure a Requirement for Educational Study Programs
(DETROIT) – This afternoon, Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) introduced the Protecting Students from Worthless Degrees Act. Currently, schools are eligible for three major federal financial aid programs totaling more than $160 billion even if they lack state licensing or programmatic accreditation for specific programs they offer(Title IV under the Department of Education, GI Bill under the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Tuition Assistance under the Department of Defense). The Protecting Students from Worthless Degrees Act will address this problemby making programmatic accreditation or state licensure a requirement for programs of study when such licensure or accreditation is needed for students to do the job they were prepared for by these programs. Specifically, the bill requires that programs offered by degree-granting institutions will be eligible for federal education dollars only if their graduates fully qualify to take any examination, be certified or licensed, or meet any other academically-related preconditions that are required for entry into the job market for which the degree is supposed to prepare them. For pre-accredited programs, the bill requires institutions to inform students about the lack of full accreditation, and about the effects on their financial aid, if such accreditation is delayed or denied. Rep. Conyers issued this statement following the introduction of the bill:
“Since the first G.I. Bill in 1944, federal educational financial aid programs, including student loans and Pell grants, have given generations of Americans the opportunity to pursue an education beyond high school, and obtain the skills and training needed to succeed in the economy,” said Conyers.
“Such aid has empowered millions of Americans who otherwise would not have been able to afford a postsecondary education and has helped build our nation’s middle class. However, with the rise of for-profit and non-accredited programs, serious concerns are being raised about the educational value that students are getting for their hard-earned benefits and financial aid. As a result, legislative action is urgently needed to ensure that such programs are not funding high-cost, low-quality programs that do not lead to successful outcomes and career opportunities for students and safeguard America’s federal investment in higher education.”