The Florida Department of Education is poised to consider updating a rule related to state colleges’ accreditation, after lawmakers this year required colleges and universities to periodically change accrediting organizations.
The proposed changes were spurred by a new law (SB 7044) requiring colleges and universities to choose new accreditors at the end of each accreditation cycle, a process that can take as long as 10 years.
Accreditation carries heavy significance for higher-education institutions, as it allows the transfer of credits between accredited schools and is crucial to schools’ access to federal grant money.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, or SACSCOC, is the accrediting organization for all of Florida’s colleges and universities.
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But high-profile clashes between the accreditor and state higher-education officials appeared to spur the legislation about periodically changing organizations.
A summary of the proposed rule update, published in the Florida Administrative Register, said the changes would “remove specific reference to The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and replace it with language to reflect institutional accrediting agencies more broadly.”