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C-RAC Members Urge Continued Flexibility to Support Postsecondary Distance Learning

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Recognizing the uncertainty surrounding postsecondary institutions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions (C-RAC) submitted a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos urging the Department of Education to extend current guidance related to distance education review requirements through the 2020-21 academic school year.

The Department of Education’s March 5, 2020 guidance and subsequent April 3, 2020 “UPDATED Guidance for Interruptions of study related to Coronavirus (COVID-19)” allows accreditors to waive their distance education review requirements so that institutions can provide the distance learning opportunities necessary to continue serving students during the pandemic.

In the letter, Dr. Barbara Gellman-Danley, chair of C-RAC and president of the Higher Learning Commission, writes:

Given the uncertainty that lies ahead, we urge you to expeditiously extend this critical flexibility through the 2020-21 academic year to allow institutions to make critical planning decisions necessary in the coming weeks…The decisions and plans colleges, universities, and systems need to make in these uncertain times should not be further burdened by unnecessary worries about effective dates of federal or accreditor rules…Institutions and systems are revamping curricula, adapting staffing and scheduling, developing networks to share programming, and managing myriad details of allowable on-campus populations and use. They need as much reassurance possible that they can proceed in educationally responsible ways with the flexibility their accredited status and educational missions deserve.

For more information about C-RAC, visit

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The Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions is a collective of seven regional organizations responsible for the accreditation of roughly 3,000 of the nation’s colleges and universities. To learn more, visit

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