Owens Combats Political Influence in Higher Education

WASHINGTON – The Accreditation for College Excellence (ACE) Act, introduced by Higher Education and Workforce Development Chair Burgess Owens (UT-04), has passed the House Education and the Workforce Committee. This legislation prohibits accrediting bodies from enforcing partisan or political beliefs on institutions, assessing institutional ideologies for funding, and imposing additional accreditation standards. Additionally, it seeks to protect colleges’ religious freedoms and constitutional rights while promoting academic freedom.

“I’m proud to see the ACE Act successfully pass the Education and the Workforce Committee, marking a significant step forward in ensuring fairness and integrity within our higher education system,” said Chair Owens. “Accrediting bodies often link a college’s access to federal financial aid with their adherence to woke diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. The ACE Act prioritizes the production of workforce-ready graduates and safeguards against undue political influence, fostering an environment where educational excellence thrives uninhibited.”

Background on the Accreditation for College Excellence (ACE) Act

  • Requires accreditors to confirm their standards do not require, encourage, or coerce an institution to support or oppose specific partisan or political beliefs, viewpoints on social or political issues, or support the disparate treatment of any individual or group;
  • Prohibits accreditors from assessing an institution’s commitment to any ideology, belief, or viewpoint for the purposes of receiving accreditation for HEA funding;
  • Protects a college’s religious mission and ability to require adherence with religious practices or codes of conduct; 
  • Ensures that an accreditor cannot require, encourage, or coerce an institution to violate any right protected by the Constitution;
  • Limits accreditors from adopting any additional standards for accreditation. 

The full text of the legislation is available here.

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