David Barnes of Generation Opportunity wrote this piece for Real Clear Education. He makes an excellent point.

As millions of college students across the country pack their bags for the fall semester, many are wondering how they are going to pay for it.

Millennials today face tuition and fees three times higher than their parents did in the ‘70s and ‘80s, adjusting for inflation. Skyrocketing costs are forcing students to borrow money at historic levels. Nationwide, Americans owe more than $1.4 trillion in student debt – double what they owed in 2009.

With the rise in tuition rates and student debt showing no sign of slowing, it might seem as if our nation’s higher education system is rigged against the very students it is designed to serve. In fact, it is.

Empowered by the federal government, a powerful cartel of college accreditors is stifling competition, driving up tuition costs and limiting the options available to students.

College accreditation is technically voluntary. But under the Higher Education Act, only schools accredited by federally approved institutions are eligible for grants and financial aid. With federal student aid and subsidies accounting for an ever-growing share of university budgets, accreditation is all but mandatory for most schools.

As a result, college accreditors have become the de facto gatekeepers of the higher education system. It’s an arrangement riddled with conflicts of interest. Many colleges and universities are dues-paying members of the same accrediting associations that oversee their accreditation. Even the staff of accreditation agencies are often employed by the very colleges they monitor.