So, you think regional accreditors have high standards

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Constitution, Jun 11, 2006.

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  1. Constitution

    Constitution New Member

    The following is an e-mail exchange I had with Hank Cram, executive director of the Middle States CSS:

    Dr Cram,

    Has Washington Online become accredited?

    I notice their website, http://www.woli.com/ now says “

    “Earn your accredited Paralegal Certificate in 6-10 months at Washington Online, the leading provider of accredited online paralegal education……"
    I do not see them listed on your website as an accredited institution.

    His response was:

    I have visited the Washington On-line web site. It is not clear that they are referencing MSA as the accrediting agency. They may be currently accredited by someone else. They are currently a candidate for accreditation with our organization and should receive their full accreditation in October, 2006.

    Hank Cram Ed.D.
    Executive Director
    Commission on Secondary Schools
    Middle States Association
    3624 Market Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19104-2680
    www.css-msa.org
    [email protected]
    (267) 284-5044
    (215) 662-0957 FAX


    I replied:

    I happen to know that they are not accredited by anyone else. You should at least highly suspect this to be likely since you have visited them and are therefore familiar with their organization. Claiming to be accredited when one is not is a serious breach of public trust and misleads prospective students.


    He then replied:

    According to WOLI the referencing of “accredited Paralegal Certificate” relates to the fact that students can and do earn college credits for their classes through an articulation agreement with the University of Phoenix. It is not a reference to their application to Middle States for accreditation.

    Hank Cram Ed.D.
    Executive Director
    Commission on Secondary Schools
    Middle States Association
    3624 Market Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19104-2680
    www.css-msa.org
    [email protected]
    (267) 284-5044
    (215) 662-0957 FAX


    I was stunned. For a school which is in accreditation candidacy to make a statement such as that to students is highly deceptive and, in my opinion, unlawful. For the head of an accrediting agency, in whom the federal government has entrusted the task of ensuring integrity in education, to condone this is a breach of the public trust.

    To quote the CSS website: "Standards, you said it!!"

    I suggest e-mailing Hank Cram about this and set him straight about standards.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2006
  2. little fauss

    little fauss New Member

    If it takes at least 6 months to complete the program and they are slated for accreditation in 4 months, then I suppose it'd be impossible to enroll in the program now and graduate with anything other than an accredited degree. Now, that assumes that this "full accreditation in October, 2006" is a fait accompli and that it's just a matter of processing paperwork; in other words, the review is already completed and the program approved. It also assumes that they haven't touted this publicly until that was clearly the case and they'd been told from on high. In that case--and it may be the case and may be the reason for the ho-hum you got from the RA fellow--I'm not overly outraged. But if it's not, then I'd agree with you and say that's grounds for the accreditation train grinding to a halt as of yesterday, because that's as deceptive as sin.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2006
  3. recruiting

    recruiting Member

    After visiting their website I took a peek at the accreditation page, at the bottom this is what I read:

    Accreditation Status

    The Washington Online Learning Institute is pleased to be a Candidate for Accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools.

    The Institute has completed its self-study and hosted an onsite Evaluation Team from the Commission on Secondary Schools on April 4-6, 2006. The Commission on Secondary Schools will take action on the Institute’s accreditation at its meeting on October 27, 2006.


    BUT on the top of the very same page it states this:

    Accreditation
    The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools (MSA) is the accrediting agency that oversees The Washington Online Learning Institute.


    IMHO I think most people would not read beyond that statement as the site already indicated the courses ARE ACCREDITED on page one. Hummmmmmmmm

    Deceptive, yes-
     
  4. siersema

    siersema Member

    Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but it really doesn't seem to be that bad. There's a large link for Accreditation Info which goes to a page that describes that their status is candidate. Perhaps the phrase .."leading provider of accredited online medical office assistant education." is a bit premature, however it doesn't seem that they're trying to deceive when even just looking at the site for a min or two will provide you with their exact standing regarding regional accreditation.
     
  5. Constitution

    Constitution New Member

    In response to the last 3 replies:

    Dr. Cram’s statements were, in my opinion inappropriate:

    (1) “It is not clear that they are referencing MSA as the accrediting agency. They may be currently accredited by someone else. “

    Is he just looking the other way?

    (2) “According to WOLI the referencing of “accredited Paralegal Certificate” relates to the fact that students can and do earn college credits for their classes through an articulation agreement with the University of Phoenix.”

    Can you believe an accreditor is saying this?

    As for the institution in question, they’ve been claiming to be accredited, for the past 5 years. In the paralegal profession, there are actually statutory ramifications to having gone to an accredited program.

    While an institution is in candidacy, an institution should be putting their best foot forward, i.e. showing the agency and the public that they deserve to be accredited. If the institution engages in questionable practices then, what does it say about how they will behave once they are accredited?

    There is a process:

    Application
    Candidacy
    Accreditation

    The final step, accreditation, is voted on by an accrediting commission, which is independent of the agency’s staff, i.e. its executive director.

    It’s vital for the process to be followed in a fair, consistent and transparent manner by all institutions.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2006
  6. little fauss

    little fauss New Member

    If they've been making those same claims for five years, then as you can see from my comments above, I agree. Forward your sequence of events and proof to the guy's superior, and if you receive no satisfaction, work your way up the chain of command.
     
  7. Constitution

    Constitution New Member

    He is the boss! He's the Executive Director.
     
  8. Constitution

    Constitution New Member

    There was actually some discussion on this Board back in 2001 relating to this institution’s claims of being accredited:

    http://forums.degreeinfo.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=3067

    The funny thing is that they were not even listed as “approved” by IACET (which is NOT an accrediting agency, as explained by John Bear in the above link) at any time.
     
  9. little fauss

    little fauss New Member

    No, I mean w/in the DOE. Don't the RA agencies fall under the DOE? You could go up the chain of command right up to the Secretary of Ed and then to the White House, if you were of a mind to.
     
  10. RobbCD

    RobbCD New Member

    The regional accreditors are private agencies. They do not answer to the DoE, rather they work with them.
     
  11. LarryP

    LarryP New Member

    Personally, I find it a bit distasteful when anyone calls themselves the "leading provider" of anything. How do they establish that? Did they someone do a study and they came out on top? Do they have the most students in the country?

    I don't know much about the school in question, but it sticks in my craw a little when people make that claim, especially regarding schools.
     
  12. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

    I know what you mean. It always makes me think that they're lazy marketers couldn't think of anything clever or useful to say. And how good a sign could that be?

    -=Steve=-
     
  13. little fauss

    little fauss New Member

    They're a private entity, non-governmental. A 501c3 non-profit? I didn't know that. But are they subject to federal regulations? Is there any governmental oversight? I guess I'm learning something new here about accreditation, it's a little surprising, though. I just thought this was a government entity.
     
  14. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

    Nope, accreditation in the U.S. really is private and voluntary, just like all the mills say. The only thing required is state licensing. Some states require accreditation for licensing, though.

    -=Steve=-
     
  15. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    Legitimate accreditors in the US need to be approved by the USDOE (a governmental agency) and/or CHEA (a private agency). If, therefore, the USDOE were to withdraw its recognition of an accreditation agency, I can imagine that that accreditation agency would then have a difficult time surviving. I'm not sure how long a brand spanking new accreditation agency would be given to get recognition by the USDOE and/or CHEA, but, if it did not (or if it lost its USDOE/CHEA recognition), I could imagine that the usefulness of such an accrediting agency's accredition would quickly come close to nil.
     
  16. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    Explain.
     
  17. Constitution

    Constitution New Member

    That is true for degree-granting licenses in some states. An institution must either be accredited or agree to become accredited within a specific time period (or forfeit their license to operate).
     
  18. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    A school has to be licensed by the state in order to open its doors. There are no respectable accrediting agencies that would accredit a school with no operating history. Therefore, it would be impossible to require a school to be accredited in order to become state licensed. Some might require a school to be on an accreditation track, but not outright accredited.
     
  19. Constitution

    Constitution New Member

    Agreed. That’s what I meant by “either be accredited or agree to become accredited within a specific time period.” Sometimes, accreditation track extends to a school agreeing to give up its license if it does not succeed in obtaining accreditation within a specified time period.

    Additionally, sometimes a school is licensed in State A and already accredited, and wants to become licensed in State B. In that case, when it applies for a license in State B, it is already accredited.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 13, 2006
  20. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    The other thing I meant by "Explain" was whether he was referring to the fact that most states (though not all) require applicants for professional licensure examinations to hold degrees from accredited schools. That would be another matter altogether from requiring a university applying for school licensure to be already accredited.
     

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