Date of Award
Master of Arts
Mack C. Shelley
Responding to increased calls for uniform standards in higher education accreditation, this paper uses punctuated equilibrium theory to ask whether bright lines will have disproportionate impacts on various institution types in higher education. Using ordinary least squares and logistic regressions, I analyze the impacts of predominant degree granted, profit structure, and institutional ownership on 150 percent time completion rates, student loan default rates, and debt to earnings ratio. The results suggest that bright lines in completion rate would disproportionately impact institutions based on predominant degree granted, profit structure, and institutional ownership. Bright lines in student loan default rate would disproportionately impact institutions based on profit structure and institutional ownership, while bright lines in debt to earnings ratio would disproportionately impact institutions based on institutional ownership alone. The wide variation present in these institutions makes a uniform bright line impractical and unfairly punitive. These results are significant and robust, suggesting that the federal government must find a new method of standardizing the accreditation process.
Jacob Allen Martin
Martin, Jacob Allen, "Setting the bar: Bright-line indicators in American higher education accreditation" (2018). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 16850.