HARRISBURG – The state House has unanimously passed legislation authored by State Rep. Matt Gabler (R-Clearfield/Elk) that would protect students attending postsecondary schools accredited by an agency that loses its federal recognition. House Bill 2338 will be taken up by the state Senate Education Committee Tuesday.
“The United States Department of Education under the Obama Administration has acted incredibly irresponsibly in an attempting to shut down for-profit institutions of higher learning,” Gabler said.
“Their recent decision to derecognize the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), one of the country’s largest national accrediting agencies, places many students at Pennsylvania’s career and technical schools in jeopardy of losing financial aid and eligibility for professional licensure.
“I am proud to advance this legislation to ensure that these students will be able to continue their education and their intended career paths uninterrupted.”
Under House Bill 2338, a student would remain eligible for state financial assistance, provided that the student meets all other qualifications. They would also maintain their eligibility for state licensure and certification if they meet the required qualifications and assessments.
“These schools would also have an 18-month window to receive new accreditation by another agency,” Gabler said. “Extensions would also be possible if they are deemed to be in the best interest of the student body.”
While Gabler’s bill was written with the intent of assisting all ACICS schools across Pennsylvania, including DuBois Business College (DBC), other factors led to the untimely closure of that school in late-September.
“While I am disappointed that no state legislation could have saved DBC, I am proud to work with the college’s leaders and, at their urging, advance this bill to help students at many similar schools across our state,” said Gabler. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to quickly advance this bill to the Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk.
“I would like to thank the Senate Education Committee, which has already scheduled this bill for consideration on Tuesday (Oct. 18).”