The Think College National Coordinating Center has completed the Report on Model Accreditation Standards for Higher Education Programs for Students with Intellectual Disability: Progress on the Path to Education, Employment, and Community Living, and submitted it to the US Department of Education and relevant Congressional committees.
Finalized program accreditation standards, guidance, and review requirements may be found at the end of this report (see page 41). These standards reflect a significant step forward in creating authentic and high-quality higher education opportunities for students with ID, and create benchmarks that are useful for quality assurance and improvement of higher education programs enrolling students with ID. These standards can be used to validate and strengthen programs and provide guidelines for colleges and universities considering establishing high-quality programs. The report includes recommendations and next steps for Congress, the U.S. Department of Education, the National Coordinating Center, and the next Workgroup that will support and enhance progress in this field. It represents an important and meaningful step forward in the field of postsecondary education for students with intellectual disabilities.
The National Coordinating Center, with the assistance of two previous work groups, brought us to this place by developing, refining, field testing and finalizing these standards since beginning the work in 2011. The current Workgroup, created in 2021, will focus on developing and piloting an accreditation process and will examine the issues involved in creating an accrediting agency to implement a program accreditation process. An executive summary of the report is also available.