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State board: Ballot measure could hurt accreditation

GRAND FORKS — The State Board of Higher Education is looking at whether University System accreditation would be threatened if voters approve a November ballot measure to replace the board with a committee chosen in part by legislators.

At a meeting Thursday, North Dakota University System Chief of Staff Murray Sagsveen said the system could face losing accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission if the agency feels the new system of governance isn’t autonomous or if the agency is unable to pre-approve the change by the time it goes into effect.

“The board is only meeting five times before the vote, and there is some planning that needs to takes place,” Sagsveen said.

Even though the 11 institutions the board oversees are accredited by about 69 agencies, Sagsveen said losing the HLC’s accreditation needs careful consideration, as it could affect the reputation of every institution in the state.

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