California Southern University is now a member of the American InterContinental University System

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by PositiveSoul, Jul 5, 2022.

  1. PositiveSoul

    PositiveSoul Member

    I am a PsyD student at California Southern University (CalSouthern) and today I received an Important California Southern University Notification. Following is the content of that notification:

    July 5, 2022

    Dear CalSouthern Learner:

    I write to share the exciting news that California Southern University (CalSouthern - is now a member of the American InterContinental University System (AIU System - Like CalSouthern, AIU System is an accredited, predominantly distance education provider that offers flexible learning options for its students. The final approval for this change occurred late last week. I write today to provide you important information about this acquisition.

    With this change, CalSouthern becomes a member of a larger institution while maintaining its unique learning methodology and experience-based curriculum that is developed and taught by professionals in their respective fields. It is important for you to know that there will be no changes to the operations or academic programs, nor to the level of support and service you have come to know with CalSouthern. There will be no change to your tuition amount and all payment plans (if applicable) will remain unchanged. Also, there will be no changes to the following areas:

    • program of study: structure, content, delivery, courses
    • faculty
    • student advising and financial services
    • graduation requirements
    • institutional policies

    CalSouthern is now institutionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC - within the scope of the AIU System’s HLC accreditation. As a result, CalSouthern is relinquishing its institutional accreditation with the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC - This change will not impact current programmatic accreditations or other approvals.

    As part of the AIU System, your program will be licensed by the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education and CalSouthern’s approval by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (CA BPPE) will be relinquished. The AIU System is registered as an out-of-state online institution with the CA BPPE (school code: 13951562) and will continue to collect Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF) assessments from student who are California residents or enrolled in a residency program, and to otherwise comply with STRF regulations.

    In the event that you choose to discontinue your program, a refund may be requested pursuant to CalSouthern’s Refund Policy as found in your Enrollment Agreement and Catalog. The AIU System will become the custodian of CalSouthern’s learner records as well.

    In addition, for California residents who do not choose to continue with CalSouthern, when you enrolled you may have paid an assessment to the STRF. The State of California created STRF to relieve or mitigate economic losses suffered by California residents who were learners while attending certain schools regulated by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (

    We are excited about this news. As always, we remain committed to helping you achieve your educational and career goals. If you have any questions, please contact me, your academic advisor, or any CalSouthern representative.

    Sincerely yours,


    Clinton Gardner, Ph.D.

    Cc: Dr. James Rieger
    Learner Support Services
    Registrar's Office
    Charles Fout and Dustin like this.
  2. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    It doesn't look like a significant change facing outward. Probably just the sale of one for-profit to another?

    AIU gains doctoral programs, which I don't believe it currently offers.

    Longtime denizens might recall that Donald Hecht created both SCUPS and Northcentral University. Now both have been subsumed. I supposed someone made out nicely.
    PositiveSoul likes this.
  3. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Clinton Gardner was president at NCU and Potomac before CalSouthern.
  4. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    I'm a tad confused why they acquired CSU. Even though AIU doesn't have any doctoral programs, their Trident University acquisition of 2020 does have PhD and other doctoral programs. The only program I see that would benefit them would be the PsyD offering along with their other non business offerings at the graduate/undergrad level.

    I don't see any "explosive" growth or "real" benefit with this merger to either institutions. Was CSU struggling financially or something? Was it a deal to purchase them for AIU? I suppose so... CSU only has two doctoral programs, PsyD and DBA, and a few grad/undergrad programs. Hopefully they keep the pricing low and unchanged for the near future.
  5. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    I think California Southern University was a better name (obviously because it can be confused) than American Intercontinental University.

    For PsyD students the AIU name may work to their benefit just because the Calsouthern University name was known at Student Doctor Network (and elsewhere) as a DL and non APA program and not necessarily held in high regard.

    I think Calsouthern has advantages. In most states you can become a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and it is relatively inexpensive. It fills a niche.
    PositiveSoul likes this.
  6. Sheri

    Sheri New Member

    Yes, CalSouthern has been struggling for awhile. They have been dealing with a plethora of lawsuits and a string of staff/board departures and additions. Their last WASC report was a disaster and they were due for a WASC review in the fall which would have no-doubt shown that they had not resolved any of their show-cause items. Hecht's new wife Gwen Finestone ran the place like it was her kingdom and she was the dictatorial queen, and it wasn't until staff talked to the visiting WASC team about what was actually going on that she stepped down, while maintaining control behind the scenes through her proxies like former admissions advisor turned VP Brett O'Rourke.
  7. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    Wasn't she the one with the Newburgh Theological Seminary PhD?
  8. PositiveSoul

    PositiveSoul Member

    Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Transition to the AIU System

    Dear CalSouthern Learner,

    On July 5, 2022, you were sent a notice regarding an important University update. We understand that there may be questions and concerns regarding this update. We remain dedicated to supporting the success of our learners during this transition and into the future. Please see the Frequently Asked Questions below that will provide you with answers to the most common questions we have received.

    Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Transition to the AIU System

    Q1-What is the difference between HLC and WSCUC?

    A-The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) are similar in that they are both institutional accreditors, previously referred to as regional accreditors, recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE).

    Q2-Where can I find that CalSouthern is accredited by HLC?

    A-You will find the accreditation information on the HLC website by searching for American InterContinental University System (AIUS or the AIU System).

    This is CalSouthern’s official accreditation statement: California Southern University is a member of the American InterContinental University System. The System is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (, an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

    Q3-Is CalSouthern still regionally accredited?

    A-Yes, although the terminology has changed. In 2020, the USDE changed its classification of accreditation agencies to combine regional and national agencies under the combined umbrella identified as “institutional” or “nationally recognized”. This change affected the former “regional” accreditation agencies (i.e., HLC, WSCUC, SACSCOC, MSCHE, NECHE, and NWCCU). HLC (which was previously classified as a regional accreditor) is an institutional accrediting agency.

    Although some external agencies, including state licensing boards, have not updated their regulations and requirements to reflect this change in terminology, any references to a “regional” accrediting agency includes HLC. CalSouthern continues to be accredited by an institutional accrediting agency that is recognized by the USDE.

    Q4-Where is CalSouthern located?

    A-Effective 7/1/2022, CalSouthern is located at 2200 East Germann Road, Suite 120, Chandler, AZ 85286 and all academic activities are based at this location. The AIU System, which includes CalSouthern, is licensed by the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education. The Costa Mesa, CA, location will continue to operate as an administrative center only.

    Q5-Does this change impact me and my educational requirements?

    A-Your program requirements will not change because of this transition, and the pursuit of your degree will not be interrupted. CalSouthern still provides the same quality education and will continue to operate as it does now. However, as a member of AIUS, we have additional resources we may use to continue to offer our learners a quality educational experience.

    Q6-Will CalSouthern change its name?

    A-California Southern University will retain its name with the addition of the AIU System member statement. The name effective 7/1/2022 is California Southern University, a member of the American InterContinental University System.

    Q7-What school name will be shown on my diploma?

    A-Learner diplomas, transcripts, and other University documents will be updated effective 7/1/2022 to reflect the California Southern University, a member of the American InterContinental University System name.

    Q8-Why did the owners sell the school?

    A-The founder/owner operated CalSouthern for close to 45 years. After making the decision to retire, the owner wanted to ensure that CalSouthern’s legacy continued to exist as an on-going quality educational institution. As a result, CalSouthern became a member of the AIU System to ensure that the operational, financial, and faculty mentor and staff resources will continue to be available to secure its future.

    Q9-Will tuition be increased?

    A-No, this change has not triggered any changes in the CalSouthern tuition. As stated in the catalog, the learner who has enrolled in a program of study, signed an Enrollment Agreement and commenced courses, will not be subject to a tuition increase during the duration of the enrollment provided the learner makes satisfactory academic progress and maintains continuous enrollment. Subsequent Enrollment Agreements will reflect the tuition in effect when the agreement is signed.

    Q10-Will external financial assistance be available to me?

    A-There are no changes in financial assistance; we will continue to provide learners with the same zero interest payment options.

    Q11-Can I transfer credit to other regionally accredited Universities?

    A-There is no change to the transfer credit policy. As stated in the catalog, the transferability of credits you earn at CalSouthern is at the complete discretion of an institution to which you may seek to transfer. Acceptance of credits, degree, or certificate you earn in the educational program is also at the complete discretion of the institution to which you may seek to transfer. If the credits, degree, or certificate that you earn at this institution are not accepted at the institution to which you seek to transfer, you may be required to repeat some or all of your coursework at that institution.

    Last edited: Jul 10, 2022
  9. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    They should change their name from CalSouthern to South-Central Arizona University.
  10. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    These details are valuable how?

    I'm trying to understand what is unique about any of this beyond the actual purchase itself.
  11. Michigan68

    Michigan68 Active Member

    I am still trying to understand the reason for the purchase. If American InterContintal University is already in bed with Colorado Tech, so it must be more than gaining doctorate degrees.
  12. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I don't know that you'll get an obvious answer. There could be tangible, but hidden assets (like mailing lists). There might be not-so-hidden assets (like property or cash). There could be intangibles. There could be financials. In fact, even if there were apparently overt reasons for the transaction, I wouldn't necessarily trust that they were the driving reason(s) for the transaction.

    Does it matter? To whom?
  13. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    Fine, but only if one of its schools is renamed Crenshaw College.
  14. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

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  15. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Maybe their psychology programs are attractive. Colorado Tech mostly offers graduate programs in nursing, CS/IT, and business. AIU mostly offers business programs along with some IT and education programs. Other than CTU offering a couple of criminal justice programs, neither college has a good selection of liberal arts programs.
  16. PositiveSoul

    PositiveSoul Member

    Information for CalSouthern PsyD Learners

    Dear CalSouthern PsyD Learner,

    California Southern University has notified the California Board of Psychology (BOP) of recent changes taking place at CalSouthern, including the change in institutional accreditor and our move to Arizona as part of the AIU System. The BOP has confirmed its receipt of this notification, made note of these changes and has expressed no concerns regarding these changes.

    Applicants for psychologist licensure in the state of California must possess an earned doctorate degree in psychology from a college or institution of higher education that is accredited by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education. Given that our new accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), meets this requirement, we believe our change in accreditor will have no impact on CalSouthern PsyD learners. All other PsyD curriculum and programmatic requirements remain unchanged, and CalSouthern continues our commitment to ensuring that the PsyD curriculum meets California BOP educational requirements.

    Learners interested in California licensure as psychologists are encouraged to review all requirements at PsyD learners who are interested in licensure eligibility outside of the state of California are advised to contact their local state board or jurisdictional authority directly for information regarding all requirements.


  17. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    This morning I saw a web ad for California intercontinental university attacking my Facebook feed. They don’t offer any psychology programs to attack California therapy. Recently American intercontinental university dumped California, attacking all its California-based faculty everywhere, but this university is based in Irvine? Isn’t this the Cal Southern university that offered psychology doctorates to attack clients in California and then was attacked by American intercontinental university? Can someone please tell me what’s going on here?
  18. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    I'd like to know more about these attacks. What was said?
  19. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    Not sure what's being discussed here either, someone got the news on this? Maybe give some more details on what was mentioned?
  20. Courcelles

    Courcelles Active Member

    American Intercontinental bought California Southern

    California Intercontinental is an entirely unrelated DEAC-accredited school.

    I’m not sure what you’re getting at, here, either.

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