Wednesday, May 18, 2011

accredidation of BPI was created in 1980 by combining offices from several federal agencies. ED's mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.
The U.S. Department of Education does not have the authority to accredit private or public elementary or secondary schools, and the Department does not recognize accrediting bodies for the accreditation of private or public elementary and secondary schools. However, the U.S. Department of Education does recognize accrediting bodies for the accreditation of institutions of higher (postsecondary) education.

Two Regional and National Institutional Accrediting Agencies recognized by the Dept. of Education are:
  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  •  Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is an independent corporation and one of two commission members of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), which is one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. The Higher Learning Commission accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the North Central region.

According to Bridgepoint Education, Inc. (BPI) 10K, Mar 2, 2011
    An institution must be accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the Department in order to participate in Title IV programs. Each of our schools is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, which is recognized by the Department as a reliable authority regarding the quality of education and training provided by the institutions it accredits. Ashford University was reaccredited by the Higher Learning Commission in 2006 for a term of ten years, and the University of the Rockies was reaccredited by the Higher Learning Commission in 2008 for a term of seven years.

 Under the Risk Factors section of 10K is the following paragraph:
    "If Ashford University and the University of the Rockies are considered to be outside of the Higher Learning Commission's jurisdiction under a new policy, the institutions could lose accreditation and become ineligible for Title IV programs.          
    The Higher Learning Commission has recently adopted revised bylaws and related policies which outline the basis on which an institution may claim that it is within the commission's jurisdiction. The revised bylaws provide, subject to specified grace periods and grandfathering provisions, that an institution must be incorporated within a state in the 19-state north central region and also have a "substantial presence" in the north central region, as defined by commission policy, to be considered within the commission's jurisdiction. For more information, see "Regulation—Accreditation—Changes to Higher Learning Commission jurisdiction" in Part I, Item 1 of this report. The Higher Learning Commission will evaluate an institution that was accredited by the commission as of July 1, 2010 (such as Ashford University and the University of the Rockies), against the "substantial presence" definition at the time of the commission's next comprehensive evaluation of such institution, except where the commission has information to indicate that an institution does not meet this requirement and initiates, subsequent to July 1, 2012, an inquiry to review jurisdiction. Ashford University and the University of the Rockies are each scheduled for their next comprehensive evaluations in 2014-2015. 

Out of the 10K, Mar 2, 2011 -
    "Ashford University expects that the FSA will consider the findings and recommendations in the final audit report and engage in a dialog with the university prior to determining what, if any, action to take. If the FSA were to determine to assess a monetary liability or commence an action to limit, suspend or terminate the university's participation in Title IV programs, Ashford University would have an opportunity to contest the assessment or proposed action through a series of administrative proceedings, with the right to seek review of any final administrative action in the federal courts. Although we believe Ashford University operates in substantial compliance with Department regulations that are applicable to the areas under review, we cannot predict the ultimate extent of the potential liability or remedial actions, if any, that might result from the recommendations by the OIG in the final audit report."

In addition, BPI has applied for additional accredidation. According to the 8K, May 13, 2011
    In September 2010, Ashford University applied for eligibility from the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges ("WASC")
    On May 12, 2011, Ashford University received a letter from WASC stating that the WASC Eligibility Review Committee has reviewed the application and determined that the university meets all of the WASC eligibility criteria and may proceed with an application for initial accreditation. Additionally, the letter confirmed that Ashford University is authorized to pursue WASC accreditation under Pathway B, the process for institutions that currently hold accreditation with an institutional accreditor recognized by the US Department of Education. A determination of eligibility is not a formal status with WASC, nor does it ensure eventual accreditation; it is a preliminary finding that Ashford University is potentially accreditable and can proceed within four years of its eligibility determination to be reviewed for initial accreditation status with WASC. 

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