Accreditation at the Crossroads

Threats and Opportunities for Christian Colleges and Universities

Trustees and senior administrators at Christian colleges and universities are keenly aware that their institutions’ financial solvency depends largely upon maintaining external accreditation. Less fully understood, however, are emergent trends that threaten to fundamentally transform the way all postsecondary institutions in the United States will be required to interact with accreditors. This position paper reviews each of these trends and charts a way forward for Christian higher education. After exploring how the regional accreditors’ expanding role has rendered them unstable gatekeepers for access to federal student aid, the paper demonstrates how two movements—Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and the Consumer Protection Reform Movement—narrow what counts for academic quality in troubling ways. The paper concludes by elucidating how the U.S. Department of Education’s recently formed accreditation marketplace permits new pathways for quality assurance that protect, rather than erode, institutional autonomy, and by arguing that Christian higher education should be at the vanguard of creating new institutional-type accreditors whose standards reflect its unique mission and identity.

To download the full report, please click here.

Print article

Share This

The Center For Academic Faithfulness & Flourishing

The Center For Academic Faithfulness & Flourishing exists to empower Christian colleges and universities to advance their faith-based missions, equip campus leaders with the resources necessary to flourish in our present age, and encourage broader support for these unique and valuable institutions. To advance this mission, CAFF seeks to accomplish three goals: (1) Reassert institutional faithfulness by developing a cohesive and credible counter-narrative to ideologies that undermine Christian higher education; (2) Redesign organizational networks by helping Christian colleges and universities cultivate ideologically aligned exchange partners; and (3) Reinvigorate institutional flourishing by designing initiatives that strengthen the governance, management, and financial position of faith-based institutions of higher education. You can find more information at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *