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Sage College, a California school specializing in training court reporters, suddenly closed this week, stranding about 350 students who received e-mails about the closure only days earlier, according to a report in the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

The newspaper reports that, "Sage College is the latest in a series of private for-profit colleges to abruptly quit the business. Unlike some other such institutions, however, there were no claims that the school had a bad actor. Instead, it fell victim to the actions of its accrediting agency, the Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges and Schools." 

In December, the accreditor, ACICS, lost a final appeal to retain its standing with the U.S. Department of Education to retain its status as an accrediting entity.  As a result, schools like Sage lost their accreditation status because they had been accredited by ACICS. Such schools had 18 months to find another accrediting agency.

Sage disclosed via an FAQ page this week that it had discovered it would be difficult to gain accreditation from a different entity. “We learned that Court Reporting programs do not meet required benchmarks to qualify for the approval process,” the material says, “therefore moving forward in that direction was not a viable option for us.”
 
 
A federal panel is recommending that one of the nation's leading accreditor of for-profit colleges lose its authority.

The recommendation that the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools -- ACICS -- be stripped of its accrediting authority could prove disastrous for more than 200 colleges currently selling programs to more than 800,000 students nationwide.

Accreditation is one of the lynchpin's of any college's ability to function and authority to tap into federal student loan programs. For decades, hundreds of the nation's for-profit colleges have turned to ACICS to obtain their stamp of accreditation approval.

ACICS, in turn, has enjoyed the authority to grant accreditation through an approval process with the U.S. Department of Education. But a federal panel that helps determine which accrediting bodies can provide accreditation is now a recommending that ACICS be eliminated from the Department of Education's approved list.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity voted 10-3 last month to shut down ACICS's accrediting authority. The U.S. Department of Education now has until September 2016 to determine the accreditor's fate. 

If ACICS loses its authority to accredit for-profit colleges, each college and trade school currently accredited by ACICS will have 18 months to find a new accreditor.

ACICS accredited Corinthian Colleges, a massive for-profit education company that collapsed in 2015 amidst state and federal scrutiny of the school's marketing and placement practices.
 
 
Computer Systems Institute, an Illinois-based trade school, is appealing a decision by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools to withdraw its accreditation.

According to the Chicago Daily Herald, the for-profit school with campuses in Elgin and Gurnee was notified by ACICS that its accreditation was being withheld, an action taken in the wake of the U.S. Department of Education asserting that the school submitted false job placement statistics.

CSI previously lost its entitlement to participate in federal student loan programs.

CSI's chief executive office, Julia Lowder, announced that the school was challenging the accreditation withdrawal, stating that pending an appeal, CSI would maintain its accreditation.
 
 
The Baltimore Sun reports that the "financially strapped" Sojourner-Douglass College may become part of a Virginia-based for-profit school, Stratford University in a deal to be spelled out in April 2015.
According to the Sun, Stratford president Richard Shurtz announced on April 1 that a memorandum of understanding between the two institutions "provides a framework to establish the Sojourner-Douglass Center at Stratford University," with programs in nursing, health sciences, information technology, and business.
It was not immediately clear what impact that any such agreement would have on current students' ability to complete programs with accreditation or to transfer credits to Stratford or any other institution.
Sojourner-Douglass College students have been in limbo following the Middle States Commission on Higher Education's decision to withdraw accreditation due to inadequate financial resources.  Sojourner-Douglass's accreditation ends in June 2015.
 
 
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.

 
 
Baltimore-based Sojourner-Douglass College has lost its accreditation, with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education upholding its decision to withdraw approval of the school due to financial instability.   The loss of accreditation becomes effective June 30, 2015.
Accreditation is critical in higher education because it allows schools to be eligible for federal financial aid, including Pell grants, and makes it possible for students to transfer credits earned at the institution to some other colleges and universities.
Students with concerns about the impact of the loss of accreditation on them can learn more here about a class action firm that is reviewing these developments.
 
 
Wilbeforce University, the nation's oldest private historically black institution of higher education, is facing a show-cause order from the Higher Learning Commission, but it is actively investing in buildings and academic programs as it fights the challenge to its accreditation.
In June 2014, the Higher Learning Commission issued a show-cause order alleging that the university was not in compliance with several areas important to its accreditation, including academic programs, finances, and physical plant.
In addition to undertaking repairs to buildings and shoring up academic programs, Wilberforce has submitted a 3,000 page document to the commission describing its plans for improvement.
A site visit by the HLC  that is part of the show-cause order is now scheduled for April 2015.  The visit will give Wilbeforce an opportunity to show that its accreditation should not be revoked, a move that could be devastating the university, its faculty, and its students.

 
 
Norfolk State University is facing questions about its future following a decision by its accrediting agency to place it on probation.
According to media reports, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed the four-year university with approximately 6,000 students on probation in December 2014, following a period of being in warning status.  
As reported by Norfolk ABC affiliate 13 NewsNow,  "If Norfolk State University's accreditation is stripped away, it loses all access to federal funding and student aid. NSU would also lose its standing in the higher education community, meaning no one will accept NSU students as transfers."  
The university has been placed on probation by SACS for compliance issues relating to governance, faculty qualifications, financial stability and control over sponsored research.  SACS currently accredits colleges and universities in 11 states.
A site visit by the accrediting agency currently is planned for September 2015. 
Interim Norfolk State President Eddie Moore Jr. has publicly said that while he is disappointed by the accrediting agency's decision, the university currently expects no academic or financial impact due to probation.
Students and others with concerns about Norfolk State's accreditation who wish
to share those concerns with attorneys at College Watchdogs can do so here or by sending an e-mail to contact@collegewatchdogs.net.

 
 
 
Sojourner-Douglass College is facing a critical period, raising questions about the future of the  educational programs that it delivers to students.
In early February 2015, the Baltimore-based college closed its satellite campus in Edgewater, with the college's president announcing that all but one employee at the branch had been let go.  As reported in the Baltimore Sun, the campus closed amidst questions raised by a pending lawsuit alleging that the school had failed to pay rent at the location. 
Meanwhile, Sojourner-Douglass, founded in 1972 and serving non-traditional students, awaits word on its future from its accrediting agency, which voted in November 2014 to withdraw accreditation for the school primarily due to financial instability.  The school appealed the decision by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which is expected to rule on the appeal later in February 2015.
If the school loses its accreditation, it will not be eligible to receive grants and loans from the United States Department of Education, which is the primary means by which students pay for their education at Sojourner-Douglass.
The school has lost substantial numbers of students as its troubles have mounted. According to the Baltimore Sun, enrollment has dropped to approximately 750, down from 1,300.  
If you are a student or employee of Sojourner-Douglass who wishes to share concerns about the school's troubles with an attorney, you may do so here or send an e-mail to contact@collegewatchdogs.net.
 
 
Martin University is awaiting word on the future of its accreditation due to financial difficulties that landed it on probation with the Higher Learning Commission, its accrediting body.
The Indianapolis-based school has been faulted by the Higher Learning Commission for low graduation rates and financial instability, resulting in imposition of probation in 2014.  The Indianapolis Star reported last year that the HLC had faulted Martin University for a variety of problems, including an "extremely low" six-year graduation rate of 14.3 percent.   
University President Eugene White has assured students and faculty that a turnaround is feasible.  According to the Star, Mr. White is the fourth leader of the institution since 2007, when leader and founder the Rev. Boniface Hardin retired.
After placing Martin on probation in February 2014, the HLC has allowed a period the school to undergo a period of self-study allowing for improvement in its performance.  According to the HLC, "At its meeting in June 2015, the [HLC] Board will review materials related to this evaluation and determine whether the University can be removed from Probation. If the University has not resolved the Board’s concerns that led to the imposition of Probation and has not demonstrated that it is in compliance with all Criteria for Accreditation and Core Components, other action by the Commission may be appropriate."
Students and graduates with concerns about the future of Martin University and the causes of its problems who wish to share those concerns with attorneys may do so here or by sending an e-mail to contact @collegewatchdogs.net.