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Report 89-17: Protecting the Integrity of California Degrees: The Role of California's Private Postsecondary Education Act of 1977 in Educational Quality Control

Published by The California Postsecondary Education Commission

April 1989

Reprinted in Report 89-21. View Full Publication
California's law regulating privately supported postsecondary education -- the Private Postsecondary Education Act of 1977 -- will sunset on January 1, 1992, unless the Legislature extends or repeals its termination date. In anticipation of that decision, the Legislature directed the Commission to report by September 1, 1989, on the effectiveness of certain portions of the law in "protecting the integrity of degrees and diplomas issued by private postsecondary educational institutions" as well as on the implementation of the law by the California State Department of Education.

In this report, the Commission responds to the Legislature's request. Part One of the report briefly describes the scope of California's private postsecondary education enterprise and offers 21 findings about its regulation by the State. Part Two traces the origins and development of today's law; Part Three assesses the effectiveness of the law in achieving its goals; Part Four evaluates the adequacy of its implementation by the Department of Education; and Part Five summarizes the problems that stem from the law's defects and its inadequate implementation.

Eight years ago, in the Commission's five-year plan for California postsecondary education from 1982 to 1987, the Commission identified as one of its nine priorities for action the protection of the integrity of California's degrees and other credentials. Over that half-decade, California has made more progress in assuring a basic level of consumer protection regarding its degrees than in the previous 20. Yet this report concludes that still more progress is needed, both in strengthening the law itself and its implementation, in order to bring California to the minimum level of consumer protection offered by other major industrial states of the nation. Otherwise "California will retain its reputation throughout the country and the world for tolerating questionable credits and discount diplomas, and it will continue to be unable to ensure the integrity of its degrees and the protection of its citizens who depend on that integrity" (p. 60).

The Commission adopted this document, along with a related report, Recommendations for Revising the Private Postsecondary Education Act of 1977, at its meeting on April 17, 1989.


Related Topics: Performance of Higher Education
 

Further information may be obtained from the Commission's Research Staff
(916) 445-1000 or via e-mail at Research_Staff@cpec.ca.gov.

A copy of any publication may be requested from the Commission's Publications Unit
(916) 445-1000 or via e-mail at Publication_Request@cpec.ca.gov.

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