Proposal to lift cap on college programs offered through unaccredited entities stirs concerns about giving companies back door to federal student aid.
Dozens of colleges, including many with widely known brands, outsource parts of degree programs to other institutions or private companies. Under federal rules, colleges can offer degree programs in which up to 50 percent of instruction is outsourced, including through unaccredited entities.
A proposal from the Education Department would remove that cap entirely, potentially allowing colleges to completely outsource curriculum and instruction for degree programs. That possibility is alarming consumer advocates who worry it will give low-quality operators backdoor access to federal student aid money.
Amy Laitinen, director for higher education at New America’s education policy program, said it would basically allow colleges to rent out their names to third-party companies while pulling in federal aid.
“It raises questions about what it means to be an institution and what it means to have to get a degree from your university,” she said.