Dr. Michelle Asha Cooper
National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202

Dear Dr. Cooper: 

This letter is submitted on behalf of the 12 undersigned organizations to commend the US  Department of Education (Department) on reinstating the accreditor dashboards for use by the  National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) within its  recommendation process. NACIQI plays an important role in the accrediting agency recognition process and identified several years ago that quantitative data, presented in dashboards, could  help it make better decisions. We are pleased to see the Department’s renewed recognition of  the importance of data in accreditation.  

Returning to a review process that is enhanced with data on how students fare at accredited  colleges and universities will give NACIQI a fuller picture on whether accreditors are following  through on the job they’ve been tasked with—ensuring educational quality at institutions of  higher education.[1] Specifically, dashboards can help answer critical questions about whether  students at accredited institutions are receiving a quality postsecondary educational experience such as: (1) are they likely to graduate; (2) will their institution provide fruitful future  employment opportunities; and (3) will they be able to pay down their educational debt after  they complete. They also highlight whether institutions and accreditors are good stewards of  taxpayer dollars. In short, dashboards provide a snapshot of how well an accreditors’ portfolio of  schools performs for students.  

When used well and consistently, dashboards also can demonstrate accreditor performance over  time for NACIQI members. Indicators can show whether institutions serve students well on the  identified metrics, and whether they have improved or regressed during the specified period. This kind of trend data are critical supplements to the narrative information provided to  Committee members through staff reports. Together, a dashboard’s quantitative data and the  qualitative data of the staff reports offer a clearer, more comprehensive picture of an accrediting  agency’s performance than either could provide alone.  

We look forward to continuing to work with the Department to ensure that the accreditor  recognition process takes into account whether institutions are producing strong outcomes for the students who pursue postsecondary credentials and the taxpayers who entrust the federal  government with the responsibility of distributing billions in educational subsidies each year.  


Center for American Progress
Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce
Higher Learning Advocates
Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP)
National Association for College Admission Counseling
New America
The Education Trust
The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS)
Third Way
Veterans Education Success
Young Invincibles

[1]Acosta, Alejandra. ED Should Revive NACIQI’s Accreditor Dashboards. https://www.newamerica.org/education policy/edcentral/ed-should-revive-naciqi-accreditor-dashboards/. 8 July 2021.

Read the full letter here: Accreditor Dashboard Sign-on Letter_final