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Governor DeSantis and Attorney General Moody Sue Biden Administration to Break Up College Accreditation Monopoly, Restore Education Freedom

Naples, FL  This week, Governor Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody sued the Biden administration over its attempts to undermine Florida’s higher education reforms. Last year, Florida enacted SB 7044, requiring postsecondary institutions to change accreditors, effectively ending the monopoly power accreditors hold over Florida universities and colleges. The purpose of this legislation was to free Florida from the power these private accreditors wield to dictate their ideological agenda on the state’s public universities. In response to Florida’s new law, the U.S. Department of Education unconstitutionally collaborated with these accrediting agencies by issuing guidance, aimed at Florida, deterring new accreditors from accepting Florida schools “without cause.” 

“Most private accrediting agencies enjoy limitless power to withhold accreditation and access to billions of federal education dollars,” said Eric Bledsoe, senior fellow at the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA). “It was a monopolistic accreditation system with zero oversight in Florida until Governor DeSantis and the Legislature stepped in to create a more accountable, regional system. But the Biden administration collaborated with accreditors to freeze Florida out, desperate to maintain their grip on education.”

Florida’s complaint alleges that the current accreditation requirements and limits to changing accreditors under federal law violates the U.S. Constitution. In addition, Florida argues that the guidance documents issued by the administration violate federal law because they were promulgated without the required notice and comment procedure that is necessary for all federal guidance.

“These private accreditors lack meaningful accountability, giving them unconstitutional power over state educational institutions. The Biden administration’s most egregious behavior isn’t its unwillingness to follow the Constitution, but rather its effort to circumvent Florida state law using mere guidance to avoid the requirements and process outlined under federal law,” said Stewart Whitson, legal director at FGA. “President Biden’s team is acting unlawfully, but Governor DeSantis and Attorney General Moody will not let them break the law and violate the Constitution without a fight.”

FGA applauds the leadership of Governor DeSantis and Attorney General Moody as they seek to increase the transparency and accountability of the accreditation process surrounding public colleges and universities. This lawsuit will ensure these private accreditation agencies are not immune to government oversight and will provide a blueprint for other states to follow.


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