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Rubio, Colleagues Introduce Fairness in Higher Education Accreditation Act

Jun 1, 2023 | Press Releases

Federal law mandates that Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) be accredited by an accrediting agency or an association recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Increasingly, accreditors are imposing ideological standards, such as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and affirmative action policies, as part of their judgment criteria when evaluating a school’s accreditation status. This creates direct pressure on universities to comply with woke standards or risk reputational and financial ruin.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and colleagues introduced the Fairness in Higher Education Accreditation Act to prohibit IHE-accredited agencies from considering a school’s DEI and affirmative action policies, or lack thereof, as criteria for the school’s accreditation.

  • “Wokeness should not be mandatory. I am proud to introduce the Fairness in Higher Education Accreditation Act, which would protect free speech on college campuses and seeks to prevent a politicized Department of Education from further forcing diversity, equity, and inclusion policies into higher education.”  – Senator Rubio

Senators Rick Scott (R-FL) and Mike Lee (R-UT) are original cosponsors.

  • “We need to make sure that no school is judged based on whether a DEI agenda is used. What we care about in Florida is academic success so students can get great jobs after graduation. That’s why our state has been ranked #1 for higher education by U.S. News & World Report for six years running. I am proud to sponsor the Fairness in Higher Education Accreditation Act  to bring needed accountability to our colleges and universities.” – Senator Scott

  • “This crucial legislation serves as a beacon of accountability, ensuring we don’t subject universities to undue pressure to adopt divisive DEI policies. It safeguards against manipulating the accreditation process to advance ideological agendas. By requiring accreditors to examine a school’s compliance with the first amendment, we reinforce the bedrock values of our republic. This legislation will promote excellence in education and protect the free exchange of ideas on university campuses.” – Senator Lee

Looking forward … As the Supreme Court weighs the legality of affirmative action in Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College, the Fairness in Higher Education Accreditation Act would provide a path forward to bolster free speech, and combat wokeness on campus.