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Nursing students at Pratt Community College in Kansas are expressing concern about their future, following the disclosure that the school's nursing program may lose its accreditation at the end of the school year after several years on warning status.

Students told KSN News that they are worried about what may come next for them after it was revealed that its accrediting body would not recommend continued accreditation of the school's associate degree in nursing program.

Referring to expansion of its on-line and campus offerings in health-related fields, Pratt Community College president Mike Calvert was quoted by KSN as saying, "Unfortunately, we were not able to maintain the quality that went along with that growth and lead to our board pass rates being decreased over the last several years."

A recent story in the Pratt Tribune reported that "growth may have been a key factor in the declining pass rates in the nursing program that led to the program not getting an accreditation renewal recommendation."

In a  post on Pratt Community College's own website, the school stated that its Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program  had been informed "by site visitors from its national accreditation agency, the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), that it would not recommend continued accreditation of the ADN Program to its board of commissioners. The program was placed under warning status following the most recent ACEN site visit in 2012. They cited various reasons related to the number of faculty and staff, curriculum, and outcomes. Their recommendations will be taken to their board for action in June 2015 where they will make their final decision later this summer. Until that time, the ADN program remains accredited by ACEN. Students graduating prior to this final decision will complete their studies under an accredited program. On the same date, the ADN Program was informed by site visitors from the Kansas State Board of Nursing (KSBN), that deficiencies in the program were identified. They will complete their report and submit it to the KSBN Board for review and action in June."

PCC said that its Practical Nursing (PN) program was not affected by these accreditation developments.  

The school also said in its statement, "There are many unanswered questions at this time involving the future of the PCC Nursing Program. The Nursing Department, College Administration and Board of Trustees will be working diligently to decide the best course of action for students, faculty and staff and recommendations will be made public in the near future."

One student, Bernice Olvera, told KSN News, "It's hard we kind of found out this late in the season because now we have to look for other schools and you have to get so many pre-reqs for those other schools and other schools have deadlines that have already passed."

If you are a student or faculty members with concerns about the potential loss of a college program's accreditation that you wish to share with attorneys at College Watchdogs, share your concern here or call 877-540-8333.

 
 
At a time when it is facing problems due to probation from its accrediting agency, Norfolk State University is raising the cost of tuition for it students.
The Virginian-Pilot is reporting that starting July 1, NSU will increase tuition rates for in-state, out-of-state, and part-time students.   The university said that its tuition rates remain among the most affordable in Virginia.
"Meanwhile, NSU lingers on probation until it fixes a list of shortcomings flagged by its accrediting agency. Many of the problems concern weaknesses in bookkeeping procedures," the newspaper said.

 
 
Charleston School of Law, which may be sold to a for-profit company, is enduring  continuing controversy, as faculty members receive buy-out offers,  a former dean levies blistering criticism at the plan to convert the institution into a for-profit business, and its founder severs ties to the school.
The Post-Courier in Charleston, South Carolina, has recently reported on a number of significant developments at the school that has been buffeted by controversy following the July 2013 announcement of a potential sale to the for-profit InfiLaw System.  
According to the Post-Courier, "Opponents of a sale to InfiLaw, which includes many students, faculty and members of the state’s legal community, have said they think a sale to InfiLaw would decrease the value of a Charleston School of Law degree because the company’s three other law schools have lower standards than the Charleston school."
Most recently, the newspaper disclosed that the law school's founder, Ed Westbrook, had resigned from the school's three-member board and is planning to sever ties to the school that he opened with a small group of lawyers and judges in 2004.    According to the newspaper, Westbrook is interested in converting the school to a nonprofit, while  the two other board members wish to consummate the sale to InfiLaw.   The newspaper had previously published an item disclosing that the school's founding dean, Richard Gershon, had "published a scathing blog post" about the other two board members, George Kosko and Robert Carr, in which he called them "the embodiment of lucre and malice."
Earlier this month, the Post-Courier reported that the law school is offering buyouts to select faculty members, including those with tenure.  The offers are part of the law school's ongoing efforts to resolve financial problems.



 
 
Inside Higher Ed reports that the U.S. Department of Education is refusing to identify the "dozens of colleges" for which it has curtailed access to federal aid despite the risk that these institutions may pose to their students and to taxpayers.
According to the report, the Education Department has identified 76 colleges or universities that are to be subjected to  "heightened cash monitoring," but it won't say which schools are among those whose access to federal financial aid may be restricted or slowed due to this status.
According to Inside Higher Ed, "Even as it pushes to make far more information about colleges available to consumers, the department is keeping hidden from public view its decisions to punish certain colleges with funding restrictions known as heightened cash monitoring. At the end of last October, 76 colleges or universities were subject to the most stringent form of those restrictions, according to the department. Another 455 institutions, as of last August, faced a lower level of scrutiny. But the department has refused to provide the names of those colleges because of the 'competitive injury'  it may cause them."

 
 
In a new development in  Minnesota's ongoing battle against Globe University, the state attorney general is alleging that nearly 6,000 students in Minnesota are being charged interest rates that are higher than the most that state law allows.  According to attorney general Lori Swanson, Globe University students are paying interest rates on loans issued by Globe that are in the range of 18 percent when state law caps student loan interest rates at 8 percent.  

 
 
A former academic adviser at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, who revealed academic fraud and then sued the school to get her job back, is speaking  out now after settling her case.  "I don't think whistleblowers are very popular to employ . . . after they speak out," Mary Willingham tells Time Warner cable, after settling her case for $335,000 in a deal that did not allow her to return to the university. 
In the wake of the revelations made by Willingham, UNC now faces two class action lawsuits from former athletes claiming they did not receive the education to which they were entitled.

 
 
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that a New York University professor who had publicly criticized the conditions of workers helping to building NYU's new campus in Abu Dhabi  was recently barred from entering the United Arab Emirates.  
According to the Chronicle story, "the decision to bar Andrew Ross, a professor of social and cultural analysis, could have wider ramifications both for NYU and for other colleges that operate campuses in authoritarian countries."
"Administrators at NYU have long insisted they have agreements with authorities to honor basic academic freedoms, but an incident like this is a clear violation of those principles," Mr. Ross said in an interview with the Chronicle. "It also illustrates how fragile or illusory it is to make such claims under the circumstances."
 
 
Kuyper College, a small Christian college in western Michigan, suddenly announced that it would eliminate its athletic program in six sports in the coming school year after a year-long review during a time of declining enrollment, MLive reports.
The intercollegiate athletic program at Kuyper, which as 245 students, will close June 30, 2015, ending participation in men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's soccer and women's volleyball.  The full-time athletic director and part-time coaches all will lose their jobs.
According to the  MLive report, the decision came after a year-long review looking at
 "the college's mission alignment, enrollment, student interest and their experiences within those programs, said Ken Capisciolto, vice president for advancement."
Basketball coach Stan Jesky told MLive that the announcement of the decision "was just out of the blue."

 
 
Mallory Heiney, a former licensed practical nursing student at Everest College in Grand Rapids, has traced in a Washington Post editorial the path that took her from what she thought was a "high-quality program that I could finish quickly" to being "deeply in debt for an education that fell far below my expectations."  She explains how this journey caused her to become a member of a group of former students at Corinthian College schools that are now refusing to pay federal and private student loans as "the Corinthian 15."In her article, Ms. Heiney recounts in part:
"During the enrollment process, I explained to an Everest financial adviser that I could not afford to make loan payments while attending school. I was reassured that I would not be required to repay my loans until after I graduated. He quickly signed me up for federal and privately held loans. By graduation, I owed more than $24,000. Two months into my program, I received my first loan bill. That’s when I learned that I was expected to pay the interest on my private loan debt while in school. Soon I was selling my plasma twice a week to buy groceries and make my interest-only payments.The program also lacked the quality I had been promised by Everest’s admissions staff. Classes consisted mostly of teachers reading aloud from books. After I earned my degree, I did not have the knowledge I needed to pass the state licensing exam. I eventually passed it by spending hours researching the test questions online and watching YouTube videos."



 
 
Only 39 percent of college presidents surveyed for a new report for Inside Higher Ed express confidence that their institution's financial model has long-term sustainability.   
The report was based on data from a Gallup poll of the presidents of 338 public institutions and 262 private nonprofits in the U.S. "We’ve really reached a turning point,”  Ronald Ehrenberg, professor of industrial and labor relations and economics at Cornell and head of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute, told Bloomberg News. “The growing debt crisis and decline in family incomes after the recession has made people very cost conscious, and institutions aren’t going to be able to increase tuition as rapidly in the future.”
“When you’re limited on your ability to raise tuition, and you’re using a substantial amount of tuition to pay to help students attend, you don’t really have a lot of money left to run the institution,” Ehrenberg said.