September 7, 2018 – Defending Religious Freedom in Higher Education
Federal Regulators are Attacking Faith-Based Colleges and Universities
The Higher Learning Commission has always worked with religious colleges and universities to consider each school’s gender diversity within the context of their faith-based mission. However, in March, the Higher Learning Commission proposed upending that relationship. They no longer want to take a school’s mission and constituency into account when assessing the school’s diversity. This policy change would further insert the federal government and unelected bureaucrats into religious schools.
What is the Higher Learning Commission?
The Higher Learning Commission accredits colleges and universities in the central United States, including in Arizona, on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education. Accreditors review each school’s standards compared to federal guidance to regulate the quality of education being provided. Once gaining that seal of approval, schools are eligible for federal aid, including federal student loans.
What am I doing about it?
In July, I joined my Republican colleagues in sending a letter to the President of the Higher Learning Commission requesting that they withdraw this proposed revision. Accrediting bodies like this one need to cease their unnecessary attacks on faith-based institutions.
I am exploring potential legislation that would redefine the role these accrediting bodies play in limiting the freedom of colleges and universities nationwide. Education is inherently a state and local matter, and students should have the freedom to choose an institution that best serves their needs and interests.
What are they saying?
“We must protect the religious freedom of faith-based institutions. That's why I sent a letter to the Higher Learning Commission, asking them to withdraw recent proposed revisions to their accreditation criteria to ensure that faith-based colleges in America can remain true to their religious mission.” – Congressman Ken Buck, 4th Congressional District of Colorado