Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Postsecondary Commission’s guiding principles?

The Postsecondary Commission (PSC) has five guiding principles:

  1. PSC will only accredit nonprofit institutions.
  2. PSC will measure and report on the ability of institutions to improve the economic mobility of students.
  3. PSC will protect students and taxpayers by holding institutions accountable to outcomes related to economic mobility and by requiring institutions to act with transparency.
  4. PSC will encourage institutions to seek out innovative designs capable of break-through student outcomes.
  5. PSC will operate free from conflicts of interest. 

Is the Postsecondary Commission a federally recognized accreditor?

No, not yet.  Over the next several years, PSC will seek recognition as an accreditor from the US Department of Education.  In filing our application for recognition, we will work closely with partner colleges and with the US Department of Education to refine and test our accreditation model.

What scope will the Postsecondary Commission have as an accreditor?

We will accredit US-based institutions of higher education across a wide range of degree and certificate types and across a wide range of fields of study. We will be an institutional accreditor with Title IV authority. We will only accredit nonprofit private and public institutions. We will accredit institutions of higher education that produce significant economic mobility gains for students, act with transparency and agree to be held accountable for outcomes related to economic mobility. We will work with institutions that, with appropriate attention to stability and risk management, seek out innovative designs capable of break-through outcomes for students.

What institutions will seek accreditation with the Postsecondary Commission?

We expect nonprofit institutions that share our commitment to economic mobility, transparency and accountability to seek accreditation with PSC. 

How will the Postsecondary Commission measure economic mobility outcomes?

A broad group of policy makers, practitioners and advocates are increasingly interested in measuring, and setting policy based on, the ability of institutions to improve the economic trajectory of students. PSC will learn from these efforts. PSC’s goal is to develop a rigorous, fair and practical protocol for measuring the ability of institutions to produce economic mobility gains for students.

Why does the Postsecondary Commission prioritize economic mobility outcomes?

Students and their families value a wide range of outcomes and models in higher education, and PSC believes in a higher education sector characterized by variation and choice. PSC will require institutions to be transparent about their outcomes and designs so that students and families can make informed decisions about whether and where to pursue higher education.

Further, PSC will hold institutions specifically and directly accountable for producing economic mobility gains for students because a large majority of students seek postsecondary education primarily to improve their economic prospects.  Economic mobility is not the only outcome from postsecondary education that matters to students and families, but it is usually the one that matters the most.

Who funds and who governs the Postsecondary Commission?

PSC is funded by a mix of individual donors and national philanthropies, and PSC is currently assembling its full board. In the coming months, PSC will share more information on its donors and board.

Working to be a federally recognized accreditor of outcomes-focused and innovative colleges.

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