News last week that an accreditation group for for-profit colleges may lose its federal recognition has prompted many L&D leaders to re-think their strategy of making courses from such programs available for their employees.
According to the Associated Press, an advisory panel to the Department of Education (DOE) has voted to recommend the government sever ties with the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), the nation's largest accreditor of for-profit schools that accredits many of the nation's for-profit colleges. The vote could lead schools to close their doors and jeopardize learning for hundreds of thousands of students. The final decision on whether to revoke federal recognition of ACICS will be made by a senior official at the department in the next few months.
At issue is the potential loss of participating schools' ability to participate in federal financial aid programs. While this does not affect the corporate learning market, the consequences of the loss of accreditation could very well lead to many of such colleges closing their doors -- leaving paying clients like corporations in the dust.
'I know this is going to disrupt human lives.'
-- Kathleen Sullivan Alioto, member of the independent panel advising the DOE on the status of ACICS
No doubt, for-profit colleges and universities have been under fire for quite some time. Mergers and acquisitions, downsizings, and bankruptcies have been commonplace in the last two years, as the Obama administration has stepped up scrutiny of such schools' offerings -- and promises -- to students.
That students have filed complaints of fraud, while being saddled with thousands of dollars in student debt, should have the corporate market taking notice of this alarming trend.
We've covered online universities in this blog in the past. We at Synapse® understand that the beleaguered, under-resourced L&D leader may seek refuge in the offerings from online universities. Such schools offer packaged, ready-made courses in a number of desired disciplines, such as accounting, IT security, or project management. Why reinvent the wheel when an online university has already created and delivered it successfully for thousands of other students?
Where online universities fall short is in courses to teach tasks or disciplines specific to an organization. Our learning platform Synapse allows L&D departments to leverage internal expertise to build courses, and then rapidly scale, distribute, personalize, and measure that learning throughout the organization.
While it may make sense to still utilize pre-packaged courses from online universities, the L&D leader can now take a more authoritative position when dealing with these education partners. Learning leaders should demand more of their external education providers and drive more value from such alliances.