Ashford loses accreditation

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

  1. Jonathan Liu

    Jonathan Liu Member

    As I always suggest to distance learners, select a public university if you have a choice and I'm sure you have. Many private universities, especially for-profit universities, have this or that kind of problems.
  2. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    OK. The reason I asked was that someone upthread suggested that Ashford University should buy Simpson College and then he later explained that Ashford & Simpson were a husband & wife songwriting team. Also, Ashford doesn't need to "snap up" any NCA schools; they already have a bricks & mortar college in Iowa, which is North Central territory.
  3. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    Agreed. What Ashford should do is either move their data services or corporate offices to an HLC area. I've been to Clinton where the campus is and the university being healthy and thriving in that small town has been an economic boon (at least according to the locals I spoke with). I can only imagine the amount of goodwill that would be generated if they were to do something similar with their corporate operations. The downside is the expense. BUT (and this is a big but) we're talking about a business with an extremely high cash flow, great profit margins and that is steadily making money. The biggest risk I can see is the smaller "talent pool" from which to hire. I wonder if there is a data service, cloud provider in the HLC area and if Ashford ever considered going to a managed cloud solution with their online presence?
  4. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    For my investor friends. I waiting for the $8 and change mark and then pulling the trigger. I don't see big fluctuations in price in the last week or so, it maybe already bottomed out. 4 Education Stocks on Thin Ice (BPI)
  5. Abner

    Abner Well-Known Member

    Hmmm, I will check into that my Tejas friend. I will pass this on to friends as well.

    I have come to respect your business prowess over the years. If I take a road trip through that area, maybe we could meet up for lunch. I miss Texas, it has been a long while since I have been there.

    Have a good one,

    Abner :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2012
  6. Petedude

    Petedude New Member

    I'm picky about semantics, so I may be reading too much into things or not enough, and I may actually need to go over the whole HLC document in detail. However, to me, "significant presence" does not necessarily mean "significant administrative presence". As a casual read, I think the HLC just wants to feel like Ashford is really "there" in the HLC's neck of the woods. Sure, moving a pile of administrative staff there would do it, but maybe having lots of live schools/live students in the region would as well. I think "significant presence" is vague enough that you could interpret it either way, but again, I should probably go back and look at the whole document.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2012
  7. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member

    I'm going to go out on a limb here...

    My gut tells me that HLC is going to place Ashford University on Show Cause, and the risk of the loss of accreditation for Ashford is very real. There is a perception that HLC was "duped" when Bridgepoint purchased the Francisican University of the Rockies. Note that HLC has taken a harder line on these types of "college flips" (See Dana College and Rochester College for recent examples).
  8. Petedude

    Petedude New Member

    All that, and the current general public antagonism towards for-profits doesn't help Ashford any.
  9. damooster

    damooster New Member

    I am a current Ashford student just beginning my last course (MBA with spec in PA). Even though my degree will still be RA accredited no matter the outcome, I'm afraid that the school losing its RA will negatively impact my job chances in the future.
  10. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    That would be cool Abner and I'm glad you respect my "business prowess"...what little I do have. Last time I bet on Ashford I made enough money to buy a Harley Sportster for my wife...not too bad of a deal actually. This time I expect a rapid snap back to true market value as I find the devaluation of BPI to be largely synthetic. I do not consider them a risk for losing their accreditation but even if I did, you are talking about a company with almost half a billion dollars in assets, with piles of cash sitting around, that is not in debt with a robust cash flow.

    Even if they did somehow lose accreditation and decide to throw money at it (as I recall they believe accreditation is a 10 million dollar asset) they have plenty to do so. Also I think a lot of this is going to be resolved in the next Presidential election in November. If Obama and thus Arne Duncan get another 4 years, things will get hostile for publicly traded for profit schools. Even APUS which has a stellar reputation has seen their stock price suffer recently...but it seems the insiders in the investment world are watching BPI like a hawk and like the Motely Fool states, there's a reason. Currently the stock is grossly undervalued.
  11. mcjon77

    mcjon77 Member

    I think that your assessment is pretty accurate. I went back and did a little reading on the two colleges you mentioned. This article in Inside Higher Education gave me a little insight into HLC's mindset now.

    Standing Up to 'Accreditation Shopping' | Inside Higher Ed
  12. tennis8363

    tennis8363 New Member

    I graduated with an MBA in 2011 and have the exact concerns.
  13. PatsGirl1

    PatsGirl1 New Member

    I'm one of them :( I liked Ashford and learned a lot from them. I have some issues with the school, for sure, but overall I got a lot out of it. Looking back, I would've gone to another school because they gave me a hard time about silly things and it was ridiculously expensive.
  14. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    I for one do not regret my experience at Ashford one bit. That said, if they lose their accreditation (which I am confident will NOT happen) it will be temporary. Half billion dollar businesses don't just vanish. But let me play devil's advocate and let's assume they do lose their accreditation and fade into the mist of history, you will have a regionally accredited credential from a now defunct school. This will not put you into super exclusive territory as this has happened (and continues to happen) at many private non-profit schools and even a handful of state schools. It is not unprecedented. What is unprecedented is a school with as much liquidity as Ashford going belly up.

    Also you can bet your boots that if Romney gets elected you will see sweeping changes in the U.S. Department of Education which I am willing to bet will include their rules on Title IV funding regarding for profit schools (which oddly enough do not currently apply to non-profit schools whether good or bad).

    Lastly if you took my advice and bought BPI stock when it dropped to $8 per share, congrats, you've already turned a 25% profit since a few days ago (or at least had an opportunity to this morning).

    As for Ashford's price tag...I do wish they were a bit less expensive. Even still, at the time I went they were cheaper than several local alternatives.
  15. NMTTD

    NMTTD Active Member

    This has been all over a few of the facebook groups I belong to. Here are a few interesting articles that might clear everything up. Oh, and their ORIGINAL accreditation review was in 2014, but now it is the end of this year, with a decision being made in early 2013.

    From Lawsuit filed against Ashford parent Bridgepoint » Local News » The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa : "According to the WASC, it denied Ashford accreditation because of low student retention rates and lack of a system to monitor and assure student success, among other things.

    According to a press release issued by the law firm, in May and June 2011, the WASC and its eligibility review committee notified Ashford of several concerns it had regarding the institution’s future accreditation.

    The suit claims Bridgepoint officials failed to disclose to stockholders that it “had failed to implement plans, procedures and practices to sufficiently assist students in staying with the programs they enrolled in and complete the courses,” and failed to provide adequate educational resources.

    The lawsuit also claims Ashford failed to maintain a “sufficient core of faculty and programs,” which led to poor teaching and student completion rates.

    In addition, the lawsuit states Ashford had inadequate review procedures and failed to maintain an empowered and independent governing board. The lawsuit follows the HLC placing Ashford on 'special monitoring status.'"

    And from Bridgepoint Education faces shareholder lawsuit | : "Bridgepoint Education’s accreditation woes and subsequent stock sell off has sparked a class action lawsuit against the company on behalf of shareholders......

    Bridgepoint’s shares have lost 55 percent of the value in the past 10 days. They closed Tuesday at $9.65 on the New York Stock Exchange.....

    Accreditation is vital to Bridgepoint, a for-profit higher education company. It’s required students to tap federal student aid programs. The company receives more than 85 percent of its revenue from government-backed student loans and other federal assistance programs such as Pell Grants.

    At least five law firms are seeking to be lead counsel in the class action. If the case goes forward, it will be up to the judge to decide which one gets lead counsel status."

    Second IMPORTANT article I found. REALLY worth reading. Very detailed. From For-Profit College At Risk Of Losing Accreditation And Access To Federal Student Aid : "Over the past week, Bridgepoint has been in damage-control mode,
    issuing a series of public releases and internal memos to staff stressing that the school is still accredited with the Midwest organization, the Higher Learning Commission. Management sent out an e-mail last week listing "frequently asked questions" about the accreditation problems, but it contained only a handful of basic responses that staff were supposed to provide to students, according to a copy of the e-mail obtained by The Huffington Post.

    Many hypothetical questions listed in the management email, such as "How does this affect me as a student?" and "What if I'm not finished with my degree and we lose accreditation?," had no answer.

    A current employee who works in Ashford admissions said there have been an overwhelming number of questions from students about how the accreditation denial could affect their future. The employee said staff have been frustrated at their inability to be open with students; instead, they have to give "the same canned answer" every time.

    "If you have a student digging and asking a lot of intelligent questions, all you can do is regurgitate the same thing over and over again," said the employee, who declined to be identified because of a company policy that prohibits employees from speaking to the media." Also in the same article (very long and detailed, worth reading): "Current employees in academics and admissions said they have long been frustrated with the academic shortcomings identified in the report from the western accrediting association. The report noted that many students received limited feedback in online discussion forums that were a critical part of many classes.

    "Faculty responses to required student posts were often limited to a few words of encouragement and lacking in substantive exchange between student and teacher," the report read.

    An Ashford teaching assistant said the limited interaction reflects a disparity in resources for students, the majority of whom struggle with basic writing and reading comprehension.

    "You'll have 70 students, and one person grading," said the teaching assistant, who declined to be identified for fear of retribution from Ashford. "There's no way that you can give those students the individual attention they need."

    The current admissions employee said many long-time employees were pleased that the accreditors were pushing Ashford to improve. But the employee was uncertain how the school would be able to meet the standards and still provide the returns desired by investors.

    'I think it would be an enormous cultural shift,' the employee said. 'In order to meet the criteria that that they have set forth, it would slow down our enrollments. And that's what it's all about, right? The investors want to see how many new enrollments you have. There's a complete conflict there.'"

    So they have to submit a report in August, host a visit from HLC in October, show a LARGER presence in Iowa than in San Diego by December, and go over the results of everything in Feb, where it is assumed that a decision about wether they get to keep their accreditation or not will come shortly after.

    Oh, just to let you know, schools are starting to remove Ashford University from their lists of schools they will accept credits from. The first one is GMU (George Mason University). They said several schools are doing this as a precaution as they watch the accrediting situation and wait to see what happens. SO if you are planning on transferring, CHECK WITH YOUR NEW SCHOOL FIRST to make sure they will still accept credits from Ashford if you happen to go to Ashford.
  16. johntrader

    johntrader New Member

    Since this press release came out, I have been wanting to transfer to Athabasca university, I have a couple of questions:

    1. I currently have 82 credits, will I lose anything when transferring to Athabasca from Ashford?

    2. Will they turn down my application because I am transferring from Ashford?

  17. Petedude

    Petedude New Member

    1. Doubtful, but check with the school directly to make sure the credits match up with their program.

    2. Doubtful. I'm sure they're aware that many capable students will be transferring from Ashford.

    And, I've noticed an uptick in Ashford commercials lately. I wonder if they're trying to build a cash safety net out of enrollments?
  18. Maxwell_Smart

    Maxwell_Smart Active Member

    Yeah, I thought I was the only one who noticed that. Commercials, banner ads... they're just on a marketing explosion right now.

    They know they're going down and they're trying to make as big of a last cash grab as they can. I feel badly for the students who make the mistake of falling for it.
  19. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    A former Ashford "Admissions Counselor" offers his perspective here. The comments from other Ashford ACs, including some that are still with Ashford, also provide very interesting "insider" opinions.
  20. johntrader

    johntrader New Member

    What are the chances of Ashford losing accreditation? I have been attending the university now for 3 years and find I have learned a lot. I just hope I am not going to go from 82 credits to 42 after my transfer!

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