Ashford loses accreditation

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by agschmidt, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. mcjon77

    mcjon77 Member

    It appears that they are still accredited with NCA. Their next comprehensive evaluation will be during the 2014-2015 academic year. So, they should have at least 3 more years of official accreditation until NCA-HLC pulls the plug. However, I am wondering if NCA-HLC will take proactive measures to evaluate them earlier, or pull it because they are not in the NCA regional area of responsibility anymore.
  2. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member

    According to Ashford, AU has until December 1 to comply with HLC's substantial presence requirement:

    Ashford University to Run Parallel Process of Appeal and Re-application for WASC Accreditation | Ashford University
  3. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    Actually, the webpage title never says they lost their accreditation. It says they lost their accreditation bid: "For-profit Ashford University loses accreditation bid".
  4. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    I'm not trying to be mean to any Ashford students past or present, but if you think this is no big deal and everything will be peachy, then you're kidding yourself. Ashford is in trouble, and this new emphasis on more rigorous approaches to the evaluation of For-Profit schools is certainly no help for their side.

    When your internal evaluation standards are THAT poor as exposed by WASC, it screams institutional culture problem. And institutional culture problems in large organizations are usually not easy to turn around without lots of firings and lots of time to rebuild. The points of Ashford's accreditation bid failure seem similar to a health inspector coming to a diner and finding so many violations that the diner isn't even close to being up to standard, and that's usually the product of a culture of carelessness and indifference to quality management. In Ashford's case it's clearly quantity (as many enrollments as possible) over quality (better academic standards, much better staffing ratios). It's not my opinion, it's WASC's opinion, and in the end they get the final say on that matter.

    It'll be interesting to see how HLC reacts, but this doesn't look good from many different angles.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 10, 2012
  5. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member

    From an accreditation standpoint, there isn't much that HLC can do until the next accreditation cycle. HLC is making changes to their accreditation cycle, but those are being phased in.

    However, the December 1 deadline looms in for the substantial presence requirement. According to the WASC team's report, the decision for Ashford to pursue WASC accreditation was a decision made by HLC, WASC, and Ashford. I don't see how Ashford makes the case for a substantial presence in Iowa. In addition, picking up the corporate office and moving it to HLC territory is not a practical option either.

    IMHO, this is chapter 1 of a long story. As I posted earlier, this is very likely heading to the courts.
  6. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Indeed, although you're citing their number of full time faculty members, not their number of overall faculty members.

    If you think adjunct instructors don't do anything, I can assure you that's not the case.

  7. mcjon77

    mcjon77 Member

    That changes EVERYTHING.

    My bet is that they are going to move a bunch of their facilities back to Iowa. WASC is not going to give them accreditation. That should be obvious to them now. The mood of traditional academia toward for-profits is now decidedly negative. Traditionally, it has been MUCH MUCH easier to keep accreditation than to gain it, so their ONLY hope is to comply with HLC regarding substantial presence.

    I remember that frontline documentary about for profit colleges. The guy said that during the business valuation, they determined that regional accreditation was worth $10 million. They came up with this number based on the fact that it would cost $10 million and 10 years for a school to be accredited, and even they only had a 50/50 chance of actually getting accredited.

    My bet is that, if anything, it has gotten significantly more difficult/costly to get accredited now, in light of the enhanced scrutiny on for-profits.

    If I was NCU, Kaplan and UoP, I would be developing a business/marketing plan on how to steal as many Ashford students as possible now and pick the remaining students up if/when Ashford loses accreditation.
  8. AviTerra

    AviTerra New Member

    I don't see the hiring of adjuncts to be a problem, as long as the adjuncts are properly supervised and do a good job teaching their courses. A school like Ashford will likely obtain a higher quality teacher as an adjunct than as a full-time professor.
  9. AviTerra

    AviTerra New Member

    What's not being pointed out at all is that according the WASC report, the students are reasonably satisfied with their educational experience:

    "Quality of instruction at Ashford": 90% satisfied or very satisfied.

    "Value of education you are getting for the amount you are paying": 88% satisfied or very satisfied.

    "Job placement/prospects with your Ashford education": 83% satisfied or very satisfied.
  10. Jodokk

    Jodokk Member

    Hi Folks,

    Friendorfoe is correct in the analysis of the situation. They are regionally accredited, and it seems they shall be for the near future.

    For full disclosure, I am biased here as I have served as a Writing TA, as well as an Eng, and Psy instructor online at Ashford since 2008. I am an unapologetic Shill at this point. However, for those who have actually been around this site for a few years, they know I am not likely to exaggerate the environment herein described. I don't care at all to recruit anyone, for any school, anywhere.

    I also work for several other schools, and I can say that Ashford does have a very rigorous system in place to assure quality in the classrooms for English and Psychology. In most cases, it is stronger and more rigorous than at several of the others for which I am employed. If I take any sort of shortcut that does not comply with faculty expectations, it is immediately noticed. I grade rigorously, fairly, and in line with my grading at my local community college job. I teach the capstone course for graduating Psychology students, and I am constantly impressed with the level of discourse and research for these folks. If they aren't up to the task, they do not pass my class. The majority would do very well in any graduate Psychology program.

    I have never been asked or "counseled" in any way to inflate grades. I have no idea what the situation for other disciplines might be. The culture on the faculty side is one of evolution, and constant improvement. I wouldn't know how the enrollment folks are, or what that culture is like.

    I've been quite happy with Ashford, but that is simply my experience.

    Thanks for letting me add my two-cents,

  11. Abner

    Abner Well-Known Member

    Hey Jodokk, long time no see.

    Yeah, I rememeber when you fiest started at Ashford. Other members attended Ashford as well.. The posts of students at Ashford seemed to reinforce what you say. Comments regarding coursework rigor stands out in my brain.

    See ya,


    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2012
  12. Maxwell_Smart

    Maxwell_Smart Active Member

    You could get similar survey results from "students" and "grads" of outright diploma mills, and judging from the number of people holding milled degrees proudly displaying them online while also holding high-paying and important jobs, I don't think my assertion is too much of an exaggeration.

    I'll also point out that it's a common thing for us humans to feel the need to justify a bad or questionable decision. We tend to attempt to add legitimacy to it by speaking highly of it, when in reality we know internally that it's all a front and it's part of a self-convincing exercise. I remember reading about some survey work done on this subject in a psychology class through Ashworth College some years back. Coincidentally on topic, that little tidbit in a single chapter of a single book from a DETC school that is 100% self-paced is more than I learned in every half-baked class I ever took at Ashford University.

    I again applaud WASC. They're simply telling the truth that those who haven't fallen into justification mode have already known for a long time.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2012
  13. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    :hmmm: So you're saying that those schools suck too? :saroll:
  14. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member

    From page 49 of the report:

    "Its staff is loyal and engaged but limited in experience, unseasoned and brief tenured. These cultural vulnerabilities will need to be addressed and enriched over time."

    IMHO, this is a huge hurdle for trying to relocate back to Iowa. How many staff members would relocate, and how do you recruit new ones?

    When I started looking for a new teaching position over a year ago, I sent my CV to Ashford, and was invited for a phone interview. I decided to decline the interview offer, based on the reputation of the school due to the issues brought forth by the GAO.

    Now of course, the news about Ashford has been plastered throughout academia. (Note - here's a link from the Chronicle of Higher Education - Ashford U. Is Turned Down in Bid for New Accreditation - Administration - The Chronicle of Higher Education). So if you are in California, do you pick up and relocate to Iowa? And since Ashford will need to recruit more qualified faculty, do you pack up and move to Iowa, knowing the accreditation status of the school? And for those of us who picked up substantial debt while earning a graduate degree, working at Ashford University does NOT qualify for public service student loan forgiveness. Ashford is going to have trouble recruiting quality people, regardless of location.
  15. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    It has been quite a few years since I attended college in the UK but in my experience the majority of students dropped out of certificate or degree programs at some pont. It was quite normal to see a job applicant list his academic qualifications as passed second year engineering degree exams for example. Today many universities provide certificates for students who drop after completing a portion of a degree. So it is hard to compare US vs. UK drop-out rates.
  16. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Bridgepoint Education is one of the ten largest employers in the San Diego metro area, with about 3,000 local employees.

    If Bridgepoint relocates, they will either have to convince thousands of employees to relocate from coastal southern California to Iowa, or find thousands of Iowans to replace them.
  17. abnrgr275

    abnrgr275 Member

    Mountain State University is also facing RA accreditation problems

    I saw this information posted earlier today both on Mountain State University's main website and the HLC website as well. I noticed this potential problem several months ago when I was considering applying for an online instructor position and decided to wait and see how the HLC visit and final ruling would impact Mountain State. Reading all of the information related to the HLC visit and their final decision to remove Mountain State University's regional accreditation makes me question whether Ashford University can hold on to their HLC regional accreditation in the long term. Here are some links related to Mountain State's current situation:

    Mountain State University plans "prompt appeal" of HLC decision - Mountain State University Newsroom


    The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association

  18. Michael

    Michael Member

    Edited by author: already answered. Sorry
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2012
  19. novadar

    novadar Member

  20. Petedude

    Petedude New Member

    Call me nuts, but this is why I think Bridgepoint could/should buy up or open some satellite campuses. The ultimatum isn't to move all administrative and educational functions, it's to have a "significant presence" in the accreditor's region. They could open 12 classroom areas in office buildings in the region with admissions desks, advertise the heck out of it and enroll students to ground-based or hybrid programs. I'd have to think that would count for "significant presence".

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