US accreditation

October 28, 2005

Your report on the US accreditation debate ("Diploma mills may gain from Katrina", October 21) sensationalises and misinterprets a serious issue.

While most reputable US universities are accredited by one of the regional accrediting commissions, there are a number of equally reputable national accrediting agencies. But some universities refuse, on grounds that can only be described as elitist, to accept credits awarded by nationally accredited institutions. The proposal approved by the House of Representatives would prohibit such discrimination. But it would not interfere with the right of any university to judge whether particular credits may be transferred.

The American Association of Collegiate Registrars' opposition to this reform is easily explained: the power to determine whether credits should be accepted will pass from administrators to academics.

Geoffrey Alderman Professor emeritus Middlesex University

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