Bill Description: House Bill 320 revokes a community college district’s property tax levy if the college loses accreditation and it is not restored within two years. Accreditation is the foremost barrier to entry in higher education. This bill would impose an unjust funding penalty on any community college that loses accreditation and therefore force colleges to comply with demands of accreditors.
Does the bill reduce or eliminate layers of bureaucracy allowing universities to be more flexible, improve feedback mechanisms, and decentralize decisions to the individual level? Conversely, does the bill create or increase layers of bureaucracy?
House Bill 320 imposes a consequence on any institution that is not accredited by revoking the community college district’s property tax levy. Currently, accreditation is a voluntary choice made by institutions of higher education. House Bill 320 creates a new penalty for any institution that does not want to comply with the burdensome, regulatory burden of accreditation, effectively making accreditation a requirement for community colleges. The SBOE requires all public four-year institutions and community colleges that voluntarily seek accreditation to be accredited by one institution, the NWCCU. Thus, House Bill 320 would also have the effect of exclusively requiring community colleges to be accredited by that one institution and comply with its demands, under penalty of losing its governing authority. Community colleges and four-year public universities currently seek accreditation on a voluntary basis. This new regulation would make accreditation from one accreditation institution mandatory, thus granting the NWCCU a monopoly on accrediting all community colleges in the state of Idaho. The change would stifle the independent decision making of community college trustees.
Does the bill create more transparency or accountability of public institutions of education? Conversely, does the bill decrease transparency and accountability in public education institutions?
House Bill 320 decreases transparency and accountability in public institutions by penalizing community colleges that are not accredited by the NWCCU. Under House Bill 320 community colleges would be forced to comply with the demands of the NWCCU, a private institution that does not make its members' votes publicly available and is not subject to the will of voters when establishing criteria for degree granting authority.
Does the bill remove barriers to entry thus incentivizing entrepreneurship, and increasing the supply side of education services in the marketplace? Conversely, does the bill create or increase barriers to entry?
House Bill 320 would effectively make accreditation mandatory instead of voluntary for community colleges in Idaho. Accreditation is the foremost barrier to entry in the market for colleges and universities, and a licensing requirement that favors this one institution thwarts competition. The SBOE has given the NWCCU a monopoly on accreditation in Idaho by requiring all public four-year universities and community colleges to be accredited by the NWCCU if they voluntarily seek accreditation. This crowds out other accreditation options and limits innovation and experimentation in higher education. House Bill 320 exacerbates this problem by penalizing community colleges that are not accredited.
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