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Frequently Asked Questions

More on PSC’s accreditation model, priorities, and organization.

What kinds of institutions will the Postsecondary Commission accredit?

The Postsecondary Commission will seek recognition from the US Department of Education as an institutional accreditor with Title IV gatekeeping authority. PSC expects to accredit US-based institutions with a wide range of degree and certificate types, across a wide range of fields of study. Institutions accredited by PSC will produce high rates of economic mobility for their students.

Is the Postsecondary Commission a recognized accreditor?

No, not yet. PSC has published its standards and accreditation model and expects, over the next several years, to partner with institutions to practice and refine this model. At the end of that process, PSC will file with the US Department of Education its application for federal recognition as an accreditor. That application will go through several stages of review at the Department and before the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, an advisory committee.

Why does PSC prioritize economic mobility outcomes?

Students and families choose higher education for a variety of reasons. However, surveys repeatedly show that economic mobility is the number one reason students pursue higher education. PSC prioritizes economic mobility for this reason. Better jobs and wages are not the only reasons students attend higher education, but they are the most common and most important reasons.

How does PSC measure economic mobility?

Value-added Earnings: PSC requires institutions to produce wage gains for all of their entering students (including both eventual completers and non-completers) that exceed the costs they charge those students. PSC measures wage gains as the difference between the actual wages of students and a baseline estimate of the wages those same students would have experienced if they had not enrolled in the institution.  
Absolute Earnings: In addition, to protect students who encounter very low wages in the job market, even after they benefit from the wage gains that PSC requires under its value-added earnings policy, PSC requires institutions to have graduates who, at a minimum, have wages that exceed 150% of the federal poverty line in the first three years after graduation.

Who funds the Postsecondary Commission?

The Postsecondary Commission is a non-profit organization that receives funding from individuals and foundations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the Charles Koch Foundation.

How will PSC hold institutions accountable?

The Postsecondary Commission will hold institutions accountable for delivering strong student outcomes, particularly strong economic outcomes. PSC is committed to holding institutions accountable for student outcomes as a way to protect students who invest time and money in higher education and to protect taxpayers who, via their state and federal governments, finance higher education.