The Cartel of School Accreditation and Parsons College

on Thursday, February 3, 2011

School accreditation is a cartel that enforces a monopoly on university educations. It keeps number of approved universities low, restricting supply (keeping tuition prices high for members of the racket). A new school seeking accreditation can expect to wait ten years, spend $20 million, and will enjoy only a 50% success rate. Similar systems are set up to keep doctors (AMA) and drug companies (FDA) rich, all in the name of "protecting the people."

In each case, the organization that is set up to approve new schools or new drugs is lobbied for and supported by existing schools or drug makers. By keeping the barriers to entry high, they can keep prices of their products high and exclude people who are capable of serving society but are unable to do so. Schools that get out of line with the mission of the accreditation board by increasing campuses (increasing supply) and or lowering prices risk losing their status with the cartel.

Parson's college in Fairfield is a good example -- they were so successful that they had 5,000 students enrolled at one point. They were a good school, but were entertaining radical ideas. The campus was "dry," and the women had "hours", curfews and monitoring. One third of all students were recruited from the East, one third from the Midwest and one third from the West Coast. One third were in the top third academically, one third were middle level and one third were academically challenged.

They believed that the primary function of professors was to teach, and had no requirement for professors to publish, recommending that they instead focus on students. They required longer office hours to ensure access for all students. All full professors had earned doctoral degrees.

They held classes all year round, paid professors generously and were second only to Harvard in teacher compensation. They recruited heavily and were successful in drawing students nationwide. They offered full scholarships to the best students. Students were dismissed from Parsons if they did not maintain at least a "C" average after acceptance. Their success threatened other colleges and their accreditation was revoked in 1967. Soon the college was bankrupt because it did not yet have an endowment and creditors were unwilling to continue supporting a non-accredited school (non cartel/monopoly member).

A similar situation is occurring again today with DeVry and the Univ. of Phoenix -- they provide lower cost high quality educations and are currently accredited, but are close to being handcuffed. Politicians are currently pushing bills that would restrict their ability to enroll new students (lowering supply), in the name of protecting students from student loan debt. For profit schools would have to prove to bureaucrats that the education they receive is worth the money for each program, and students would be limited to paying 8% of their income to repay student loans.

This would effectively stop the expanding enrollment and allow existing schools to keep prices high. Other schools would have no such requirement and would be permitted to continue offering higher priced educations without proving their worth and without regulations on loan repayment. The victims of the new laws would primarily be families currently holding jobs or people who have been turned away by traditional universities.