Casten, Shalala, King Introduce the Stop College Closures Act of 2019

October 4, 2019
Press Release

Downers Grove, IL – Today, U.S. Representatives Sean Casten (IL-06), Donna Shalala (FL-27), and Peter King (NY-02) introduced the Stop College Closures Act of 2019, bipartisan legislation that would require accrediting agencies for institutions of higher education do more to prevent and protect students from falling victim to sudden school closures.

“It is nothing short of devastating to students when their college closes. After pouring time and money into their education, they’re left with a pile of debt and no degree to advance their career and pay their debt back.” said Rep. Casten. “I’m proud to join Rep. Shalala and Rep. King to introduce the Stop College Closures Act so accreditors can help schools avert closures and protect students when they do occur.”

“Pursuing higher education in America requires a significant investment of time and money,” said Rep. Shalala. “When colleges and universities unexpectedly shutter, students are often cheated out of years of hard work and thousands of dollars with nothing to show for it. It is the accreditors' job to ensure institutions have the proper procedures in place to act in the best interest of our students and maintain the integrity of the accreditation process.  Spotting the warning signs of a potential school closure as early as possible is critical to avoiding the worst possible outcome.”

“It is imperative that accreditors have the tools necessary to ensure that an educational institution is sound and whole. Without these tools, the loss is too great and damaging to students,” said Rep. King.

“The precipitous collapse of for-profit colleges has proven catastrophic for students and taxpayers. This legislation is a critical first step to ensure students will be protected when their institutions fail, and we appreciate Reps. Shalala, King, and Casten’s leadership in acting to prevent and manage further sudden closures.” said Amy Laitinen, Director of Higher Education, New America.

If adopted, this legislation would provide proactive solutions identifying institutions of higher education that are at risk of closing. Specifically, the bill would:

  • Require accreditors to respond to complaints, monitor and assess an institution’s records of student complaints, and submit such complaints to the Secretary and state agency as appropriate;
  • Monitor institutions of higher education that experience significant decline earlier in the accreditation process; and
  • Require accreditors to review teach-out plans and agreements when they see signs of a potential school closure