"legitimate" non accrediting body?

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by peterhcoster, Oct 17, 2004.

  1. peterhcoster

    peterhcoster New Member

    with respect to accreditation I have heard reference to certain schools that are accredited by legitimate but non recognized accrediting agencies.

    What makes them "legitimate" vs those referrred to as "not so wonderful"?

    For example: The American Accrediting Association for Theolgical Schools is not recognized by the US Dept. of Education, but it does not appear on the list of NOT recognized accrediting bodies.
    (or any other lists that I have been able to find, and it does not come up when I do a search on this forum or others)?

    I know there are those who hold the opinion that one should not bother with these institutions, but for anyone out there who may feel otherwise, I would welcome any thoughts you may have.

    Peter H. Coster
    BA. Integral Studies, Ohio University
    MA. Pastoral Psychotherapy, Pacific School of Religion
    MDiv. Pacific School of Religion
    Post-MA. Clinical Psychology, John F. Kennedy University.
  2. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    The fact that a Google search for their name produces zero hits makes them suspicious, in my view. Do they have a website?

    One wonders how they differ from the recognized Association of Theological Schools (ats.edu), which schools they accredit, and whether there is any overlap with ATS.
  3. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    The phrase "legitimate non accrediting body" brings up the charming idea of an organization whose job is to unaccredit schools.

    A British humorist once wrote a charming article on how, instead of always going around opening things (shopping centres, motorways, etc.), in the interest of environmental protection and preventing urban sprawl, the Queen should go around the country closing things.

    There are some institutions with recognized accreditation that might well deserve a vote of non-accreditation by the Committee for That Purpose.
  4. peterhcoster

    peterhcoster New Member

    legitimate but not recognized

    I have not been able to locate a web site for AAATI (American Accediting Association for Theolgical Institutions) only a mailing address. I have noticed that there are a good many theologcial schools (mostly evangelical it would appear) that claim to be accredited by this body. Many of these schools would seem to meet all the criteria for being a "degree mill" while others may pass the test of being "legitimate but not recognized".

    John, your suggestion of seeing if there may be any overlap between ATS and AAATI is an interesting one and will pursue that.

    Come to think of it, the use of the term "legitimate but not recognized" appeared in one of your books (I think the latest edition of College Degree by Mail(sorry can't give you the exact reference). I interpreted this to mean that there might be accrediting bodies that did not have goverment recognition but were still legitimate in that there were in fact attempting to establish standards that were credible.(what those standards might be who is to say)
    At any rate, without opening up the whole can of worms, it would seem that if a school does not have accreditation from a recognized agency(and many don't even seem to want it for a variety of reasons) then they are filed (by some) under the
    "degree mill" heading or suspicious at best.

    Because states like Oregon are quite serious about degree mills
    I am wondering if we aren't seeing the rise of a different type of accreditation which is in fact more government controlled, say like in Australia?

    So getting to my question, if a school is not on one of these lists (and I have seen several) lists) can one safely say that the school is "legal" and therefore "legitimate" even without any recognized accreditation?
  5. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    I think that question goes to the heart of what accreditation is and what it's for.

    I understand the word 'accreditation' to be an external endorsement, normally coming as the result of some kind of quality assessment, that supports and verifies the accredited institution's credibility.

    So the distinction between "legitimate" from "not so wonderful" accreditors is simple. It's whether or not the quality assurances are credible, whether or not the accreditation actually has any academic meaning. If you can rely on the truth an endorsement, then it's legitimate. But if a crappy school is endorsed as being good, then the endorsement isn't so wonderful.

    Recognition of accreditation comes at all levels.

    It can be an individual matter. Does some information make a school more credible in your eyes? If it does, it might not matter a whole lot to you who else recognizes it.

    It can be a specialized matter where what matters is the recognition of a small professional group or licensing board. Denominational seminaries can survive lack of accreditation if they serve the needs of the church that recruits from them. If there is only one civilian test-pilot school in the US, anyone who needs the skills of its graduates is already going to be familiar with it.

    Or recognition can be a more generic thing that concerns the entire community, as it is with most univerity degrees in most typical applications. That suggests that programs usually need to have the endorsement of authorities that are recognized by as much of the community as possible.

    This is no longer a matter of individuals or specialized groups already knowing who they trust. It's a matter of all kinds of diverse employers and clients being faced with thousands of universities that range from excellent to degree mills, all with glowing endorsements from a horde of alphabet soup accreditors that vary from totally "legitimate" to criminally "less than wonderful".

    That's where the US Department of Education and CHEA come in. They check out accreditors and publish lists of thoe whose standards and procedures seem credible and sound. Those of us who aren't personally familiar with accreditors can be reasonably certain that these accreditors' endorsements probably do mean something. This USDoEd/CHEA recognition is what Degreeinfo usually means when it refers to "recognized accreditation".
  6. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    Peter Coster: "Come to think of it, the use of the term "legitimate but not recognized" appeared in one of your books... I interpreted this to mean that there might be accrediting bodies that did not have goverment recognition but were still legitimate in that there were in fact attempting to establish standards that were credible.(what those standards might be who is to say).

    John: It seems to be there are two kinds of new or start-up accrediting agencies:

    1. The "establishment" sort, organized by a consortium of dozens or hundreds of schools or non-controversial professionals (psychologists, chemists, foresters, etc.), whose acceptance and eventual approval is pretty much a sure thing. Some newer examples: American Academy for Liberal Education, Montessori Accreditation Council, American College of Nurse Midwives, Council on Aviation Accreditation.

    2. The non-establishment sort, typically people associated with and/or financed by unaccredited schools, which have already, many times, been accredited by said organization. Of the more-than-200 such that are listed in the forthcoming "Degree Mills" book, I am only aware of three whose founder(s) have legitimate credentials.

    One is the World Association of Universities and Colleges, whose founder, Maxine Asher, has a regionally accredited doctorate (Walden). I think it is safe to say that almost no one takes them seriously because of the kinds of schools they accredit -- including, for instance, Edison University, which got its accreditation within days of being established by convicted diploma mill operator James Kirk from his federal prison cell; and the notorious degree mill called Cambridge State University, funded, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, by Columbia State founder Pellar, and closed down by the Louisiana Attorney General.

    Another is the now-defunct Pacific Association of Schools and Colleges, founded by a former head of the California Office of Private Postseconary and Vocational Education (himself with an unaccredited Californa doctorate). It seemed to have decent accreditation procedures, but was never able to get approval from the Dept. of Education or COPA, the predecessor of CHEA.

    The third is the National Association of Private Nontraditional Schools and Colleges in Colorado, started from the same offices as the unaccredited and long-defunct Western Colorado University. Their accreditation standards seemed generally reasonable to me: not as stringent as regional, but perhaps comparable to DETC. Over 25 years, they made 6 or 7 formal applications for recognition by the Dept. of Education in Washington, but never succeeded, although I believe they came close on a few occasions. When California Coast and California Pacific resigned their accreditation and membership, after many years, that was a major financial blow to NAPNTSC, and they are now down to 4 or 5 members, all quite reputable. While some big names in education have served on their board (eg, Wilson Riles, longtime California Superintendent of Education), it has pretty much been a project of the founders, Dr. (from U of Southern Calif.) and Mrs. Earl Heusser. The Heussers are well along in years (ain't we all), and I don't know if they are planning another try, or if NAPNTSC will survive them.
  7. peterhcoster

    peterhcoster New Member

    "legitimate" con't

    Thanks for all the response to my inquiry about accrediting bodies.
    It's been helpful and clarifying. A school that boasts recognized accreditation is not necessarily "better" than one that does not, just that they have met certain standards and one would hope that helps. I guess it's still buyer beware to a certain degree (no pun)

    OK. Here is another accrediting body that does not seem to be on any lists, the Association of Distance Learning Programs.
    There web site lists some schools that seem OK, others questionable. Any thoughts, opinions.
  8. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Re: "legitimate" con't

    I don't see any legitimate schools listed at their site. Even if they're there, it doesn't mean anything. A bogus accrediting agency can add any school(s) it wishes. The question to be asked is whether or not the agency is doing what it claims to do. IIRC, WAUC was successfully sued by William Howard Taft University, who claimed the WAUC didn't perform accrediting services as claimed.

    I see Madison University is only a candidate for accreditation. Must be waiting for the check to clear....

    There's no reason to think, initially, that any unrecognized accreditor is legitimate, especially in the DL business (where all the degree mills thrive.

    Claiming unrecognized accreditation, even with the "explanations" diploma mills provide (confusing, not clarifying the issue), is highly suspect.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2004
  9. ianmoseley

    ianmoseley New Member

    I would be intereted in the status of the BPPVE. A body called the American International Institute of Management and Technology - http://www.aiu-edu.com - claims accreditiaton both from the BPPVE and from WAUC.
  10. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    BPPVE is the California state agency that approves, NOT accredits, schools. If they are claiming state accreditation, they are on very thin ice, indeed.

    And by claiming WAUC, they have fallen through to the icy water. There are many stories of WAUC on this and other forums. My favorite is that when James Kirk pleaded guilty to fraud and went to federal prison for his LaSalle University, he began Thomas Edison University from his prison cell. Within days, it had been fully accredited by WAUC.
  11. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    This seems to be calling itself the American International University of Management and Technology.

    They are indeed listed as approved on the BPPVE website. See (here).

    As I recall, there used to be a BPPVE employee who posted here, and that person said that AIUMT had received some kind of 'temporary' approval. Apparently the BPPVE had/has fallen into such disarray that they were/are just handing out 'temporary approvals' to get the backlog off their desks.

    That's kind of embarassing for the BPPVE, because Mr. Jeffrey Brunton of the State of Hawaii had just gotten a court order chasing AIUMT and its owner Abnish Amar out of Hawaii. Actually, the thing has always operated from California, with just a business license and a Mailboxes Etc. "suite" number in HI. See (here). So Amar turned around and applied to the BPPVE and got rubber stamped.

    Do a search using the school name and you should be able to find that earlier thread.

    The AIUMT webpage seems to be representing the temporary approval accurately. See (here).

    Unfortunately, the California Education Code makes it illegal for a state approved school to claim non-recognized accreditation (and WAUC is certainly that). But that's obviously not being enforced either.

    But despite the iffy foundation, AIUMT cerainly seems quick to franchise.

    The London College of Business and Management offers AIUMT degrees.

    Something called the Merit International Education Foundation operates all kinds of things that apparently offer AIUMT degrees.

    And the list of 'affiliates' on the AIUMT website is certainly interesting. Check out all the "London" colleges. (The names of the people running them - Iqbal, Siddiqui, Saadi, Zaidi, Uddin, Rashid... sound like traditional English names to me.)
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 1, 2004
  12. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    Thanks Bill Dayson!

    The state approval system within California is currently in chaos and fallen into disrepute. There's a number flagrant degree mills running around truthfully claiming California approval. It's a sad state of affairs.

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