Asking for a Friend - Unaccredited Bachelors to MA Marriage & Family Counseling?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Filmmaker2Be, Jan 31, 2016.

  1. Filmmaker2Be

    Filmmaker2Be Active Member

    For reasons that are her own - just know that I urged her very hard to do otherwise - a good friend of mine decided, out of loyalty, to return to Morris Brown College to finish her bachelor of science degree AFTER they lost their regional accreditation. Because MBC was a Christian college, she was able to get accepted into the graduate program for Marriage and Family Counseling at Liberty University for the fall 2015 semester.

    However, she ended up having to drop a course and owing Liberty a balance. She is now sitting out until she can pay the balance and resume studies.

    I suggested to her that she might want to look at other schools besides Liberty. I know having an unaccredited degree really limits her options, but I know that there are some religious-based schools out there with Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy graduate programs that may be more accepting of an unaccredited degree from a Christian college. And MBC didn't lose accreditation due to academics. It's my understanding that there were shenanigans going on with the financial aid.

    Can anyone suggest any RA schools, possibly Christian, that have a master's degree in Marriage and Family Counseling and would be amenable to accepting an unaccredited bachelor's degree from a Christian college? Thanks!
  2. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Once accreditation is gone, it's gone. After it happens, it doesn't really matter why, although you are pretty much correct; there were indeed financial shenanigans. Here's a quote from the Wiki on Morris Brown College:

    "In 2002 it lost its accreditation and federal funding due to a financial mismanagement scandal during the 1998–2002 tenure of Dolores Cross as school president. The United Negro College Fund also terminated its support for the college.[3]

    In August 2012, Morris Brown filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in an attempt to prevent foreclosure and sale of the school at auction.[4] As of October 2015, the campus is still open, but dependent upon volunteer faculty and staff."

    Whole thing is here:

    I don't know very much about religious schools, as I have zero interest in them. However, I do remember that Lipscomb University in Nashville once had an arrangement with the well-known religious distance school, Nations University. At the time, Nations was unaccredited; it has recently attained DEAC accreditation. The deal was that Lipscomb would admit grads with a Bachelor's from (then-unaccredited) Nations, into a Master's program. I believe it was contingent on good performance while under "double-secret probation" for the first few courses.

    Maybe Lipscomb U. might do something like this for a Morris Brown grad - I have no idea, but it might be worth asking. The school does teach Master's programs in the discipline your friend wants. Here's the page:

    Graduate Programs - Psychology and Counseling | Lipscomb University

    Hope this helps.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2016
  3. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    There's a high possibility that the next school she goes to is going to want her Liberty transcript and Liberty probably won't send it until she pays her balance.
  4. Filmmaker2Be

    Filmmaker2Be Active Member

    Normally grad programs don't require transcripts from other grad schools previously attended. This is because, unlike undergrad programs, grad schools usually only accept up to 9 credits of transfer hours, and normally just 6 credits. If an applicant doesn't want to transfer any credits into the new program they're applying to they don't have to submit transcripts from their prior graduate school.
  5. jumbodog

    jumbodog New Member

    People think that being an accredited institution is EVERYTHING. It's not. Given her situation I would say she needs to find the university she wants to go to, find a program she wants to attend, and then write a nice and polite letter to the dean of that program explaining her situation. If the dean of the program wants her the college has the ability to take coursework from an unaccredited institution and count that as coursework towards a degree at an accredited institution, in effect laundering those courses. This isn't done every day and it certainly isn't done for every student. But the university has the power to do it.

    Given the exceptional nature of her case, especially given the fact that it lost accreditation for financial and not academic reasons, she has a great case to make. She just needs to find an advocate inside the institution she wants to go to that will take up her cause. She doesn't need to limit herself to Christian institutions unless for religious reasons she wants to.
  6. Filmmaker2Be

    Filmmaker2Be Active Member

    Thank you, but the Lipscomb program isn't offered online.
  7. jumbodog

    jumbodog New Member

    One needs to be careful here. Some schools do in fact require ALL transcripts be sent, from EVERY school one has ever attended. One needs to read the application for admissions and follow its directions carefully. Failure to follow all the directions completely could land the student in hot water later as being an act of misrepresentation. There was a case recently out of Cornell on just this issue.
  8. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I would say that most grad programs ask for all for transcripts from all colleges attended, and it's not for the purpose of transferring credits. They certainly aren't asking for all undergraduate transcripts for the purpose of transferring credits. They want to see all of your transcripts to calculate your GPA and see what kind of student you were.
  9. Filmmaker2Be

    Filmmaker2Be Active Member

    Which is why I used the terms 'normally' and 'usually'.
  10. Filmmaker2Be

    Filmmaker2Be Active Member

    Thanks, jumbodog. I told her to ask around, but I don't know if she has the confidence or motivation to do it. She said that it was hard enough getting Liberty to accept her unaccredited degree as satisfying admissions requirements for the MA program. I think that took some of the wind out of her sails. Her idealism has met reality and it's going to be harder than she thought. She doesn't have to limit herself to Christian schools, but they tend to be more open to accepting unaccredited degrees, especially if the degrees are from other Christian schools as my friend's degree is.
  11. Filmmaker2Be

    Filmmaker2Be Active Member

    It's been my experience - and I've been a grad student several times - that grad programs want all of your undergrad transcripts to calculate your GPA to see what kind of student you were, but not your grad transcripts unless you want to transfer credits into their program. If you don't want to transfer credits into their program OR you're not trying to show them that you're capable of doing well in grad school despite a weak undergrad record, they really don't care.

    But, like I said, that's been MY experience. I've asked point blank and had grad admissions officers actually tell me - more than once - that if I didn't intend on transferring any credits that I didn't need to submit transcripts of prior graduate work. I've NEVER submitted transcripts of prior graduate work to a new graduate program and it's never been a problem. But, I also don't omit the schools on my applications, either. I guess they see the major isn't relevant and don't bother to ask me to send transcripts.
  12. curtisc83

    curtisc83 New Member

    So if she does find another school and drops a course what will she do then? Will she just find another school if she owes a balance? Maybe she should just pay the balance and continue with LU. Having an unaccredited degree will make finding another RA school pretty hard. I disagree with LU's acceptance of unaccredited Christian degrees but for someone like your friend they should count their blessings because what LU does is pretty rare these days for an RA school.
  13. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    Morris Brown College is a 130 year old HBCU. I have zero problems with LU, or any university, accepting their degrees for grad admissions - perhaps on probationary basis. It's not like it's a rampant degree mill - MBC graduating classes now are probably single to low double digits strong. Hard to recruit when you can't offer financial aid or retain faculty other than as volunteers.
  14. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    A shame they sullied their name and history through shoddy bookkeeping and having their accreditation yanked then.

    I disagree with much LU does. However, I want universities (private and otherwise) to be able to accept credits from any school they feel comfortable with. Accreditation is a nice, easy measure. But there are universities out there which are equipped to vet unaccredited programs effectively for their own purposes. Good for them. Enjoy.

    I will say that having an unaccredited degree means a general lack of utility. However, this is also a situation where reputation and longevity may play to the favor of a student. MBC has had 130 years to establish an alumni base with only a fraction of those individuals receiving unaccredited degrees. Scandals aside, your typical employer is not going to pay close attention to ensure they ONLY hire MBC grads from before 2002 and no one after that date. It's just unlikely.

    To the OP's question, your friend should pay off the balance and continue with LU. The requirement to provide ALL transcripts is very common. And being unable to share those transcripts will further hinder finding another school willing to accept the MBC degree. Also, if you owe a school money you should just pay them. Actually, if you incur ANY debt, you should just pay it.
  15. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    This is a decidedly un-American attitude and I'm offended. Because I'm offended I'm going to sue you. Be prepared to hear from my attorney.

  16. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Indeed it is. And finally, some GOOD news for MBC.

    (1) InvestAtlanta and others have helped resolve the College's financial woes to a great extent - much of it through InvestAtlanta's purchase of the 37-acre campus.
    (2) The College says it is on track to regain accreditation. I read that it is not re-applying to SACS, its former accreditor.

    This, from the MBC website:

    "Morris Brown College is on the road to accreditation. We are confident that we will complete this journey with your help. The College expects to attain this goal in approximately 12 months."

    I read elsewhere that the College is seeking National Accreditation from TRACS. I wish MBC every success.


    Please note: Successful re-accreditation will not affect grads who received their degrees while the school was unaccredited.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2016
  17. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Well, yes and no.

    Re-accreditation will not make the degrees received during the period without accreditation suddenly become accredited. However, it will likely make it so fewer people notice.

    If a candidate shows up with a degree from Almeda, I know that it is unaccredited (and illegitimate). The school has a very bad reputation. During the implementation of our latest HRIS I ensured it was added to our list of institutions (in the applicant portal) so that we could then program it to automatically circular file applicants claiming a degree from there.

    If a candidate shows up with a degree from the University of Atlanta I know that they were previously accredited but that is no longer the case. I also know that, post-accreditation, the school started doing some shady accreditation things. Let's face it. It's a "new" school that had a brief run with accreditation. My opinion is neutral and leaning toward negative.

    Show up with a degree from Morris Brown College and I know that, as is noted, this is a 130 year old MBC. I also know that, without a doubt, anything pre-2003 is accredited at this school. If they become reaccredited this year (unlikely) there is really only a small gap in the school's history that needs to be considered. So small of a gap (relative to the school's history and reputation) that I doubt many people will even think about it.

    It's really a matter of accreditation verifying legitimacy rather than conferring it. In the eyes of many, MBC is wholly legitimate even without its accreditation. But, getting accredited (even if not RA) will help satisfy even more people.

    So, it won't help those students directly (as in, it won't directly impact their degrees in any way). But I believe it will, or at least may, help them indirectly by salvaging the school's reputation.
  18. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    Canisius asked for my other grad school transcripts when I applied. I didn't get credit, but they asked...

    I'm of the opinion that she should return to Liberty. There aren't "that many" RA Christian universities, and the list shrinks when you factor in distance learning, and then even more when you try and guess who'll be liberal enough to accept her undergrad.

    If she were my friend, I'd tell her to change jobs. Get in with one of the THOUSANDS of employers who have tuition reimbursement and get that degree.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2016
  19. Afterhours

    Afterhours Member

    I would have your friend look into Grace College. They seem very understanding. They are regionally accredited and CACREP certified. The campus is in Indiana and there are two residencies required. She would be certified in her state to practice as a licensed counselor, and receive insurance reimbursement.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2016

Share This Page