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University of the People Earns Accreditation, Challenging View That Agencies Stifle Innovation

It’s not hard to find examples in which accrediting agencies have in one way or the other put the kibosh on programs or institutions that supporters see as important experiments, most recently the Ivy Bridge College partnership between Altius Education and Tiffin University, the latest cause célèbre for the “accreditation as innovation killer” crowd.

But last week brought word of a very different kind of accreditation outcome, one that arguably challenges parts of that meme. The Distance Education and Training Council gave its stamp of approval to University of the People, a five-year-old global, online institution that is virtually free to students and offers most of its instruction through a volunteer faculty.