Fielding a Question About Accreditation

From Ken Kuhlken

A student who competed an MA in Writing at the college emailed:

Perelandra remains on my mind (and in my heart).
“I’ve always felt terribly sad about the abusive partnership engagement that led to the loss of Perelandra’s DETC/DEAC accreditation; I nonetheless feel very strongly that some form of U.S. Department of Education recognition would open up greater avenues for the school. Thus I was excited to discover a D.O.E./CHEA – recognized accreditation body: Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools.”

After thanking her for thinking of us, I replied:

“TRACs was founded by the very, very hyper-fundamentalist fringe of Christianity represented by the Creation Research Institute, which insists that the earth is only about 5000 years old. and they only recognize those who agree with that sort of literalist theology.

“I don’t care to argue with Biblical literalists, but neither to I want to demand that our students or professors adhere to that theology. I taught at a TRACs college (in fact I and Pam were on their accreditation committee) and it was one reason why we started Perelandra College.

“There are other possibilities for accreditation and I’m always looking into them. But by my calculation, here’s what accreditation would mean in dollars and cents: We would need to come up with $100,000 for the initial accreditation and then enroll at least 20 students who take 4 classes a year and pay $200 per credit, which would likely force many to take out loans (which I, for one, am dead against) or 40 students taking 4 classes a year and paying $150 per credit, which is the most I would want to charge.

“Now, once we gained accreditation, I believe we could get the 40 students, but the accreditation process would take several years and cost about $100,000.

“Also, most accreditors would want us to post a million dollar bond of some kind though I’m not clear on that detail.

“In case you can’t tell, I’m both stumped and discouraged. Most people who show interest in our programs want to know if we are accredited. I’m afraid higher education should be re-named vocational education, or trade school.”

Money isn’t the only issue we have with accreditation. I am working on a fairly comprehensive critique of the system and will publish it here before too long.