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Budget Could Eliminate Educational Approval Board

A proposal to disband a board that oversees for-profit higher education is getting some pushback from those in the field. 

The Educational Approval Board, or EAB, oversees about 250 Wisconsin institutions.  Governor Walker wants to shift its duties into other agencies like the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. 

But some educators think that’s a bad idea. 

Laura Ehmann is Student Affairs Director of the for-profit midwifery school, Midwest Maternal Child Institute.  She says the EAB makes sure schools like hers deliver on what they promise students. 

“They look at our curriculum, they look at how we do things, they look at our budget. And going through that process several years ago was a very rigorous process, and we were very proud when we received their stamp of approval.”

Ehmann is concerned that some of the EAB’s functions will fall through the cracks. 

“Say a school just closes. There will be no recourse for students – how do they get their money back, what about grades, transcripts, how does that all work? Much less looking at the rigor of the curriculum.”

She says without the EAB, students won’t have confidence in schools like hers. 

Walker’s budget says disbanding the EAB would reduce the regulatory and cost burden on for-profit schools.   

The agency has a budget of about $600,000 that’s funded through its own program revenue fees. 

The governor’s budget proposal says student complaints would be handled by the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, and the newly-created Department of Financial Institutions and Professional Standards will authorize schools for federal financial aid purposes. 

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