Robb: GCU is done a dirty deed

The dirty deed done to Grand Canyon University by the Higher Learning Commission provides a window into the rotten governance in higher education generally.

GCU wanted to change its status from for-profit to nonprofit. The commission said, nope. And that’s that.

So, why should that be that? What business is it of the commission what corporate form GCU adopts?It all issues from federal student aid, scholarships and loans. For students attending an institution to be eligible, the institution has to be accredited.

And for general purpose university and colleges, accreditation is a monopoly affair. There are six regional accreditation organizations. For our region, it is the Higher Learning Commission. No accreditation, no student aid. And that’s why that’s that.

So, who are these accreditation organizations? They are, themselves, private nonprofits. Their members are the accredited institutions they supposedly regulate. And so, it is no surprise that they are insular and self-serving.

So, who is the “Higher Learning Commission?”

It is essentially empowered by the US Department of Education, but direct blame goes to those who run it. HLC’s president is Barbara Gellman-Danley, and there’s a board of trustees that includes–surprise, surprise–Dr. Rita Hartung Cheng, president of Northern Arizona University; and Dr. Robert Martin, the former associate head for the American Indian Studies program at the University of Arizona.

Robert Robb, we need to hold the leaders of organizations like these accountable, not just the faceless organizations.

Source: Robb: GCU is done a dirty deed

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