Northcentral University accreditation question

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by Michigan68, Feb 12, 2015.

  1. Michigan68

    Michigan68 Active Member

    Does anyone really know why Northcentral University accreditation is year-to-year?

    Someone mentioned on this board that they were moving to California and becoming accredited under WASC.

    If so, why would it be year-to-year under HLC ?

  2. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Accreditation reviews are typically confidential, between the school and the agency. So either of those parties could answer your question. But they probably won't.

    1. The accreditation agencies typically keep their findings private. The only exception is when the situation is deemed particularly bad; in that case they will discipline the school in public, by issuing a public warning or probation notice. But NCU currently isn't facing any public discipline.

    2. The schools typically keep their accreditation reviews private. They are allowed to release them publicly, and some schools actually do that. But most schools don't -- especially if the results are critical. So you can ask NCU about the details, but they probably won't tell you.

    Basically, accreditation reviews happen behind closed doors. And if neither the school or the agency will talk about what happened behind the doors, then there is no way for the rest of us to know for sure.
  3. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    But we can always speculate. So here's a guess (just a guess):

    Regional accreditation agencies can grant accreditation for up to 10 years, and this is actually pretty common. But not at NCU. NCU (to my knowledge) has never been given the full 10 years. The implied message seems to be: "We like what you're doing -- but we don't trust you to keep doing it when our backs are turned". In other words, the agency may not have faith that NCU's management will keep doing the right thing over the long term.

    NCU is owned by Rockbridge Growth Equity LLC, a privately-held investment firm. It is just one member of a very large "Family of Companies"; other companies in the "family" handle things like biopharmaceuticals, real estate, software, loans, professional sports, casinos, sports helmets, home security, and nutrition.

    Since Rockbridge is privately held, the suits there aren't accountable to anyone. It wouldn't surprise me if they are accustomed to keeping all of the companies in their stable (including NCU) on a tight rein, and allocating and withdrawing financial resources freely in order to maximize their ROI. If so, then the NCU administration may not have very much control over their budgeting and spending, and such lack of control would probably not please their accreditors. The accreditors may fear that if they turn their backs, NCU's operating budget may be reallocated towards Rockbridge's $350 million full-service casino in Cleveland (or the $400 million casino in Cincinnati, or the $440 million casino in Baltimore). One way to avoid this would be to keep NCU on a short leash, by requiring frequent reaccreditation reviews.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2015
  4. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    Excellent observation.

    It's good to keep Rockbridge on a short financial string via HLC, although Rockbridge probably didn't anticipate that happening when they purchased NCU. It appears that academic quality is being maintained quite well, but it would be easy to allow academic quality to deteriorate in favor of siphoning off too many finances to the parent company (Rockbridge). At this juncture, that does not appear to be happening. Since the HLC regional accreditators are only accrediting NCU every one or two years, will Rockbridge sell NCU -- and hence, is that part of the reason for NCU moving to California? Or is a strategic move by Rockbridge, anticipating that WASC accreditators may allow more latitude on the "ratio between academic quality and financial funneling"?

    Here are dissertation samples of academic quality at NCU: Northcentral Library
  5. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member

    Moving forward, HLC schools will either:

    Be accredited for 10 years

    On the AQIP Pathway with visits every 8 years:

    Schools will either get 8 or 10 years; or they will be sanctioned (probation, show cause, etc.)

    At the end of this academic year, if NCU is not on a 8 or 10 year cycle, there is probably something amiss...

  6. Michigan68

    Michigan68 Active Member

    You bring out all good point. I am familiar with Rockbridge due to being from the Detroit area. Under their umbrella . . .they own Quicken Loans (mortgages), the Cleveland Cavaliers and many many buildings in downtown Detroit.

    Everyone made excellent points . . . I think I will look into Capella a little deeper.

  7. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    If someone told me they were considering NCU, my first question would be "Why?"

    It isn't because of the year-to-year accreditation, though that is a concern. It isn't the cost, though that is also a concern.

    I suppose it would come down to why NCU of all of the other online programs? Do they have a particular program that you simply cannot find anywhere else?

    Maybe there is another reason. Maybe your boss has a degree from there and you're hoping for some brownie points? Maybe your company LOVES NCU and pushes it heavily (my company is infatuated with Capella and tries to guide everyone who wants to use TA for an MBA/MA/MS into Capella)?

    There are flags, though they are not really red enough for me to to stay away completely. I just don't see them setting themselves apart in any meaningful way. That doesn't mean there is anything wrong with them, I just feel like there are some better names out there.
  8. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member

    My dean is working on his doctorate through Northcentral. One of the factors in his decision was Northcentral does NOT have a residency requirement, while Capella and Walden require residency. I'm a Capella grad - and residency was one of the factors that attracted me to the program. However, I could see that no residency would appeal to some people.

    On an unrelated note - Northcentral's HLC site visit is in April 2015:

  9. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    I went to NCU because they have no residency requirement. However in retrospect, a residency requirement might have made the dissertation process easier... and maybe not. All the research techniques that I learned (and applied) were from an in-resident M.A. program where the professors talked about their research methodologies. A face-to-face doctoral residency probably would not be enough time to convey all those different research techniques. Either way, the dissertation process is a [click here].
  10. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    I picked NCU because of the lack of residency requirements. At the time I was a national service director and traveled 2-3 weeks a month on business. The conversation would have been something like...."Hey [wife], I know I am gone 50-75% of the time and you hate it but now I am going to school, which will take a lot of my free time, and occasionally I will have to travel someplace to sit in that ok?" The next sound is deafening silence....
  11. suelaine

    suelaine Member

    This was a major reason I chose NCU too. At the time I chose it, it seemed to be the only one that offered exactly what I was looking for, and it was considerably more affordable than other RA options at that time. I paid about 26K for every possible fee and expense I can think of over the 5 years. I prepaid the tuition, locked in the 2005 rate, and got a 10% discount.

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