Ashford loses accreditation

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

  1. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    Quick reflections after reading 3 pages of comments:
    1. It does seem to be irresponsible journalism to make the headline appear as though accreditation was lost. You can say otherwise if you want to but even this higher-than-average-reading-comprehension crowd misunderstood until it was pointed out that they remain regionally accredited elsewhere.
    2. I have facilitated courses now for 7 - that's SEVEN - online universities (several religious-based, several not; several with B&M campus, several not; several not-for-profit, several not). I would say that academic rigor is top 3 of those 7 and that (as someone else noted) quality assurance on the faculty end (making sure faculty do what they are supposed to do) they are top 1 of 7. I hear student complaints, but no more than any other of the larger (and smaller, I suppose) schools.
  2. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    In response to #1, the word "bid" negates all of that. "Bid" is the operative word in the headline, so the journalist was not irresponsible in the least bit. The fact that people missed the word is understandable, but the word was still there regardless. Sometimes emotion and fervor gets the better of people and they miss something when reading (happened to me once here during a search on Nations University). It's simple human error.

    In response to #2, the difference here is that a regional accreditor is publicly announcing the schools serious and numerous internal quality problems. It's one thing when just student's or faculty complain, but it's an entirely worse matter when those complaints are legitimized by a regional accreditor.

    I understand that smoothing things over is a positive thing to do at a time like this, but I don't think it should happen to the point of downplaying the gravity of the situation.
  3. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    Received an email in my AU email last evening (when DI was down I guess):

    Here are some snippets:
    "While it’s true that Ashford’s application for initial accreditation was denied last week by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), Ashford intends to begin the process of re-applying for initial accreditation while simultaneously appealing the decision. In the meantime, Ashford is currently accredited and in good standing with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges (HLC) through 2014-15, at which time it will participate in another comprehensive evaluation to maintain accreditation."

    "Why did Ashford apply for WASC accreditation in the first place?
    Ashford applied for accreditation with WASC because of its employee presence in California, a region that WASC accredits."

    "Is our accreditation with the HLC in jeopardy in December?
    No. Ashford is currently accredited and in good standing with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges (HLC) through 2014-15, at which time it will participate in another comprehensive evaluation to maintain accreditation."

    "Is it a two year time frame before we can apply again?
    WASC has permitted us to reapply now and we anticipate having a visit from WASC in the spring of 2013."
  4. mcjon77

    mcjon77 Member

    Here is what I don't understand:

    On one hand, they are in good standing with HLC and there next comprehensive evaluation is not until 2014-2015. On the other hand, they have to show "substantial presence" in one of the states which HLC governs (Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming) by December 1st of this year.

    So, what happens if December 2nd rolls around and they still do not have a "substantial presence" in one of the aforementioned states? Does their accreditation get pulled early?
  5. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    See above:
    "Is our accreditation with the HLC in jeopardy in December?
    No. Ashford is currently accredited and in good standing with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges (HLC) through 2014-15, at which time it will participate in another comprehensive evaluation to maintain accreditation."
  6. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member

    According to this article in a San Diego newspaper, 30% of Bridgepoint employees work in "HLC territory."

    Bridgepoint may relocate local jobs after ruling |

    Look for large relocation packages, but as I stated in an earlier posting, I believe there will be issues...
  7. Petedude

    Petedude New Member

    Those would have to be awfully good to leave San Diego for. Yes, they can hire cheaper in HLC territory, but they'd have to onboard people there-- a time-consuming and costly process given Ashford's proprietary operations.

    I like my idea better. I'd have to think it'd be mad cheap to open up a flurry of offices/campuses and/or buy others in HLC territory. If they get moving, they could easily buy up a "substantial presence" by 12/1.
  8. AviTerra

    AviTerra New Member

    They can move to AZ which is a lot closer than Iowa.
  9. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    As an aside, that Arizona and West Virginia are in the same "region" has always seemed weird to me.
  10. Petedude

    Petedude New Member

    You beat me on that one.

    That might actually be the best of all worlds in this situation. Lease some cheap office buildings in Arizona, move some people over from San Diego and poach the rest from UoP. :)
  11. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member

    But here is another twist...when looking over the Mountain State University accreditation action from HLC, HLC noted that the loss of MSU's accreditation in their nursing program "triggered" a visit from HLC. I wonder, does the same apply to Ashford?

    Also, if Ashford is going to move people to Iowa, Arizona, Denver, etc., to meet the substantial presence requirement, why bother reapplying with WASC?
  12. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    Ummm....they still have it.
  13. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    Obviously open enrollment + rigor = high dropout rate. Rocket science this ain't.
  14. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    That's why I offered several US schools as well. Though technically any school that requires you to declare a major and/or enroll in a degree or certificate program just to take a course for credit would have a similar issue.
  15. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    By the by...I find it disappointing that nobody has yet pointed out that the "substantial presence" clause in the HLC's rules was brought about through pressue by Senator Harkin and his witch hunt in an attempt to devalue for profit college stock prices so that his good buddy Eisman, campaign donor hedge fund flunky could make a killing short selling. Big Short Eisman Vies With Goldman Over For-Profits - Bloomberg

    You can cheer all you want if you think this is a good thing however this is another example of the rich screwing over the middle class using their political ties. How? Because it is mutual funds (like your 401K) who own the bulk of for profit stock. The hedge fund guys "borrow" this stock at a given price, milk it, then "sell" it back at current market value (which if devalued is a tidy sum). If a handful of rich guys participating in hedge funds (of which I'll bet most of us cannot affort do buy into) screw over the faceless mutual fund companies...the same morons who cheer this are the ones losing money in their own investment portfolio.

    Anyhow, with a change in administration Arnie Duncan and company are probably gone with the wind and a shift in Senate will put this to bed for a while...until next time.
  16. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    That's a really good point. Those who argue that a high dropout rate is a meaningful sign of poor quality should explain how it fits in that degree mills have a 0% dropout rate.
  17. mcjon77

    mcjon77 Member

    Actually, this could very well be a core part of the problem. There is a difference between "open enrollment" and "open admissions".

    Open enrollment means that anyone can sign up for a class. In contrast, open admissions means that anyone can be ADMITTED into a degree program. There is a huge distinction between the two. MANY MANY schools have open enrollment for some of their classes. However, few schools are open admissions.

    In my mind (and in the minds of many academicians that I have spoken with), implicit with admissions to a degree program is a "good faith" belief on the part of the school that the newly admitted student has a decent chance of succeeding in the program. If a school is admitting anyone with a valid credit card and a pulse into their degree programs that COULD be construed as exploiting students After all, the university SHOULD be most informed regarding what is needed to succeed in their degree programs.

    If this is the perspective that the ac creditors have when evaluating universities, then I can see why Ashford (and other schools like it, including some non-profits) would have problems.
  18. taylor

    taylor New Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2012
  19. Petedude

    Petedude New Member

    That's the kind of thing I was thinking of when I first read the article. Ashford could buy up some small regional schools in the area.
  20. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    I disagree, I would say the majority of online offerings through various schools are open enrollment into degree programs. Certainly all for profits and probably the majority (as in over half) of non-profits (like TESC, Bellevue, etc.). And in some schools there are open enrollment into some degree programs but not others. Either way, this is not an unusual practice whatsoever. Being selective and turning away tuition dollars is however. Virtually every community college in the U.S. for example is "open admissions" by your definition. Either way, I am a strong advocate of open enrollment/admissions as I think everyone should have a shot at the brass ring and be judged soley on their performance, not subjectively by people who are otherwise supposed to be able to predict another's success or failure. That said, rigor should not be compromised...I think Ashfords "admissions" model of being open yet rigorous is right on.

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