• August 29, 2015

Inspector General Warns Accreditor Over Online College, Raising Fears Among For-Profit Institutions

The inspector general of the U.S. Education Department has issued a harsh assessment of the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, one of the nation's six regional accreditors, recommending that the secretary of education consider limiting, suspending, or terminating the organization's status.

The unusual action is in response to the Office of Inspector General's examination of the commission's standards for measuring credit hours and program length. The office completed similar reports for two other regional accreditors in recent weeks but has not recommended that the secretary consider taking any action against either of those groups.

In a heavily redacted memorandum released on Thursday, Wanda A. Scott, an assistant inspector general, questioned the Higher Learning Commission's decision to approve accreditation of American InterContinental University, a for-profit college owned by the Career Education Corporation.

"This action by HLC is not in the best interest of students, and calls into question whether the accrediting decisions made by HLC should be relied upon by the Department of Education when assisting students to obtain quality education through the Title IV programs," Ms. Scott wrote to Daniel T. Madzelan, acting assistant secretary for postsecondary education. (Title IV is the section of the Higher Education Act that governs the federal student-aid programs.)

In response, Sylvia Manning, president of the Higher Learning Commission, said the inspector general's case against her organization was "flimsy" because it was based on one issue raised in accrediting just one institution.

While the department removed much of the substance of the memo in the version it released, the issue that the inspector general is concerned with is whether American InterContinental is ensuring that students who take courses outside of a traditional classroom setting are appropriately earning the degrees the college awards to them, Ms. Manning said. It's a difficult issue, she added, because it's hard to apply the common definition of a credit hour to the online setting.

The Higher Learning Commission was aware of problems with how the university measured credit hours and program length, but in May it granted American InterContinental initial accreditation, with some limitations. "Our decision was, We'll bring them into the tent, and we'll make them shape up," Ms. Manning said.

But the inspector general disagreed, and asked the Education Department in August to conduct a review, she said. The department has not released the findings of that review, she said. Instead, Ms. Manning said, the memo released today was sent to the news media and to Congressional offices several months after the inspector general's initial investigation, in a way that she said seems "designed to raise the most alarm."

A Scare for Accreditors

Belle S. Wheelan, president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools' Commission on Colleges, said the call for action by the inspector general's office was "scary," because it was based on the review of just one institution. The Southern Association had previously accredited American InterContinental, before the institution decided to seek approval from the Higher Learning Commission after 2007. Although the Southern Association had placed American InterContinental on probation from 2005 to 2007, the institution left the association's oversight in "good standing," Ms. Wheelan said.

News of the report also sent shock waves through the for-profit higher-education sector. Nearly all of the major for-profit companies whose institutions seek regional accreditation do so through the Higher Learning Commission, and all of them, like American InterContinental, operate extensive distance-learning programs.

Among many officials in the for-profit sector, the Higher Learning Commission has been seen as a friendly venue. The officials say this is not because it has lax standards but because it has taken a more flexible approach in its assessment of programs.

Career Education's stock price plunged by nearly 20 percent on Thursday as reports of the inspector general's action spread. Several Wall Street analysts warned that regulatory pressure on the companies, which is already rising as a result of negotiations over regulations for use of federal student aid, was likely to persist.

It "suggests a whole new level of hostility on the part of OIG to what and how the for-profit schools operate, particularly online," said Trace A. Urdan, an education-industry analyst with Signal Hill, an investment bank. Mr. Urdan has been critical of some of the Education Department's recent overtures aimed at reining in some of the sector's practices.

Jeffrey M. Silber, an analyst with BMO Capital Markets, called the report one part of a "double whammy" for the sector, coming one day after a member of Congress called for hearings on the "conduct of for-profit educational institutions in the United States." That request, in a letter from Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, to the chairmen of two U.S. House of Representatives committees, came because of news reports questioning student-recruiting tactics in the for-profit sector.

Jeff Leshay, senior vice president for public relations and corporate communications at American InterContinental, said that while officials there are concerned with the inspector general's report, they are working hard to respond to the educational concerns raised by both the accreditor and the inspector general.

"We firmly believe that the decision by the [Higher Learning Commission] was entirely appropriate and entirely supported by the facts," Mr. Leshay said.

Goldie Blumenstyk contributed to this article.


1. richardtaborgreene - December 18, 2009 at 05:49 am

New technologies violate old ways of measure = lots of opportunity for cheating. An hour of instruction face to face in a particular room versus an hour in front of a screen---is the screen hour an hour, is the screen doing anything and if so what? Standards if implemented will solve this sort of issue BUT initial managers of for profit institutions may not be capable enough to make profits with the standards that insure comparable hourly worth. I wish for profit and traditional institutions well but I expect that much of the initial profit of for profit colleges is bogus, using novelty and technology as hiding places.

2. 11331315 - December 18, 2009 at 07:17 am

The standard of "seat time" for credit, I thought, was set aside to promote the outcomes movement. That is, as students become more responsible for their learning, the idea of sitting in a lecture hall for 45 hours for three credits us a step backwards in which students are passive vessels to be filled. Granted, the concern regarding who is actually writing that paper and who is actually taking that online exam is nothing new. When I was a TA back in the late 1960s, it was a well-known fact that certain fraternities and sororities had old test files and library papers for student use.

I do believe to go back to the Carnegie Credit standard is not unlike not going metric back in the early 80s. The US isolates itself in not considering that seat time is not a measure of learning in itself. Consider the Bologna Project in which levels of student outcomes gives meaning to the degrees, and not how flat the buttocks have been for a specified number of hours.

Is this finding against the Higher Learning Commission another pathway for No Child Left Behind Collegiate Style? That is, a national graduation exam?

Scarey, indeed!

3. cwinton - December 18, 2009 at 10:09 am

I don't think the issue here is one of "seat time", since after all the content of a traditional 15 week 3 credit hour course can in theory be presented in a single week of 5 7.5-hour lectures; i.e., there's a lot more involved in the concept of credit hour than seat time. Accreditation bodies were instituted to differentiate so called diploma mills from responsible educational institutions, presumably to protect the integrity of the certification of a baccalaureate level of educational attainment. The only motive I can think of for operating a diploma mill is profit, and there have always been a number of these in operation at any point in time. On-line education enterprise is simply the latest ground to plow for the folks who operate this way; hence the suspicion that the presence of a profit motive signals some form of a diploma mill. The question is whether the standards devised for accreditation of traditional educational institutions are sufficient to differentiate the responsible from the irresponsible in on-line education. The HLC might consider staying away from the for profit sector until they can sort this out.

4. lgreco - December 18, 2009 at 10:16 am

The credit issue aside, one should look also at the institutional profile. AIU boasts itself as a university with 20,000 students. Yet the school has only 23 (twenty-three) full time instructors and over 450 part time, according to the IPEDS database.

Is this the instructional staff profile that befits a University? Regional accreditors seem to accept this profile. The problem lies squarely with those accreditors. AIU simply plays by the (minimal) rules.

5. pokerpoodle - December 18, 2009 at 10:28 am

How many distance education programs in the nonprofit arena monitor even exams, not to mention seat time in any way. I know of only BYU that actually has tests proctored although a few other institutions require that the student have his or her ID checked by a proctor before the test is taken online. Why is our educational system socialized when we are unwilling to do that in medicine?

6. paprieto - December 18, 2009 at 10:35 am

In my opinion cwinton and lgreco provide meaningful evidence to conclude that the issue is one of integrity and standards. Unfortunately some people continue selling fake products, it occurs when miracle products are offered to "burn fat" (the smell should be horrendous) and the FDA has to intervene. In some cases there is evidence (collesterol reduction by oat bran) but it does not comply with convened upon pharmaceutical standards, thus, a food remains a food. The same is true for education, the issue is not "butt hours”, it is relevant devotion of resources (HR and otherwise) to increase the probability of attaining desired outcomes. Young people with very limited amounts of money at their disposal, and unemployed workers attempting to re-train themselves are as vulnerable as overweight persons attempting to remove the stigma caused by their ventral circumference.

7. tom_washingtondc - December 18, 2009 at 10:51 am

Many students in for-profit schools push for more video and technology in the classroom because they do not want to take direction and instruction from the professor. What is the program manager's response? If a student likes entertainment and feels that video content suits their learning style, then student should have it and the adjuncts are obliged to provide it. For-profit universities will transform themselves into redbox universities, switching the channel from professor to video. We all know that Baby Einstein videos make babies brainy, right???? Is entertainment the same as education? If it engages students and keeps them awake for the 4-hour accelerated class, then it works for the student. The university feels better about taking the student's tuition $ because the student has received a high quality experience and can justify it by the diverse learning needs argument. Bullshit.

Pizza is another engagement trick to get students to possibly pay attention to their education and learn. No pizza, then no learning. For-profit universities need to have program partnerships with local pizzerias and, if possible, have their adjuncts pick up and deliver the pizzas. I see lots of adjuncts carrying in pizzas to their classes. They pay from their own paychecks and not on the university's dime, which further exploits them for their money, time, and gas. They are suckers for doing it. Why not have students pay? See how many are excited when they take personal responsibility for paying their own way rather than sticking it to a an adjunct to pay for the entire class. Again, adjuncts need to fight back and not allow students bully them into buying pizzas. Just say no.

8. rlmprez - December 18, 2009 at 11:31 am

It seems that the Inspector General and perhaps the Dept. of Education have problems with for profit institutions. That's fine with me. That being the case the Dept. of Education should go after the for profit not the HLC. This is the first step toward nationalizing the higher education system in the U.S. Not a direction we should be going in my view.

9. jaysanderson - December 18, 2009 at 11:41 am

Profit is now a bad word. The current administration is like a conductor who invites 100 of his favorite musicians to each bring their favorite music and play together. 100 musicians, 100 different pieces of music, all played at the same time. Good intentions, but the result is painful.

10. jesor - December 18, 2009 at 11:51 am

While I'm not discounting that there might be issues, I'm wondering if North Central's HLC was chosen not because it is the most eggregious, but because it is the most high profile. If you're talking about federal dollars, there is a lot of federal money in the form of financial aid going to schools with non-regional accreditation and even more dubious standards.

11. mdefusco - December 18, 2009 at 12:24 pm

Criticism from a sector that hasn't evolved in 500 years. So why doesn't the Inspector General question why American business schools are closed on Fridays; Why a full time load can be 12 hours a semester; why credits don't transfer in the most lucrative early introductory classes. Are students being served? I will hold judgment until this is sorted out, but I have trust that the HLC looks at member institutions with a critical eye and challenges members to be better. That has always been my experience. Which professor in America would allow a single case to indict their work?

The fact that for-profit institutions have bucked a certuries old model to achieve education more efficiently must perturb some in the academy who are shocked by seemingly equivalent results. Perhaps, traditional educators should reflect on why nearly 11% if America's college students are enrolled at for profits.

You can fool some of the people....

12. johntoradze - December 18, 2009 at 12:30 pm

There really is a huge problem here. Billions of dollars are going from the federal government into the coffers of online universities. Those universities receive money commensurate with bricks and mortar, while maintaining relatively tiny faculty costs. This formula makes them rich. The University of Phoenix story is an excellent example of this. See: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/10/28/phoenix

Bluntly, the taxpayers and students are being ripped off. University of Phoenix made $229 million in the second quarter of 2009 on revenue of over $1 billion. It is now, on paper, larger than the entire University of California system. This has made the founder of Apollo Group hugely wealthy, I believe he is a billionaire.

Meanwhile, real education which has the costs associated with real faculty teaching is in serious financial trouble. This isn't a matter of "Butt-hours" this is a matter of delivering real education or not, and of the federal government supporting gross overpayment for education that is often quite questionable. The whistleblower lawsuit settlement against University of Phoenix is a strong indicator of how they run their operation.

I have no inherent problem with online universities. After all, they are just the latest incarnation of distance learning which has gone on in a number of nations for a long time. And, I finished my undergrad with a distance institution back in the pre-internet dark ages that was more difficult than my sit-in-the-classroom education. (And I got a PhD in sciences at a venerable top bricks andschool.) Perhaps that makes me more sensitive to how things can go wrong with them.

Such programs have to be carefully run, and I know one from personal experience, being a student in that system and teaching in bricks and mortar. I think that it takes more faculty work per student to do it well in distance learning, particularly 3rd and 4th years. I have not been impressed with the way online universities are set up and run.

The internet does make possible exams that are cheaper to run, and makes credit by examination possible. The new GRE system that uses adaptive examination is an excellent example. But folks, let's get real here. Such adaptive computer exams are a LOT of work, and the exams need to be updated and guarded. Furthermore, test environments must be very carefully guarded and who is taking the test vetted. Come on, people. If rich students pay others to impersonate them for exams and write papers at Stanford, who are we kidding to think they won't do it online?

That means that for most courses, faculty must be in touch with students, and they have to evaluate a lot of written student papers. Doing all that writing as an undergrad was very helpful to me in grad school. Unlike my peers, I had already had years of writing and evaluation of my papers. But I didn't appreciate back then exactly how much work it had to have been for my faculty, who were, indeed conscientious. Grading papers is hard work.

So, quite honestly, the way it is done today, the online courses I have taken a look at (although I have not done so in great depth) should have a higher ratio of faculty hours to students, not lower.

13. johntoradze - December 18, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Also, it is my opinion that it should be illegal to run anything that calls itself a college or university as a for profit enterprise. Private, fine. For profit, not ok.

14. dallasm12 - December 18, 2009 at 01:02 pm

How about we require an entrance exam to any politician before they are allowed to lead this country. The exam would be based on their undergraduate degree or their professed expertise, etc. Should they have to be above average in order to lead?

15. 22011625 - December 18, 2009 at 01:06 pm

The issue is not limited to for-profit institutions. Nearly all public and non-profit schools offer distance education and the same regulations apply to all.

16. laischron - December 18, 2009 at 01:19 pm

The central concern ought to be how any organization--the HLC, another independent body, or the federal government--can effectively evaluate education that is delivered 100% on-line, whether the education is delivered by a for-profit or a not-for- profit institution.

When on-line education is complemented by other modes of direct instruction concerns tend to diminish greatly, since there are then other means of verification that the student who is on-line is indeed the same individual who has signed up and paid the fees. The use of in-class exams, periods of instruction that are held at a physical sight or through communication systems that enable visual/oral interaction, etc. are not only reassuring, but amplify and enhance the learning experience for individuals. However, when instruction is designed to be asynchronous--you take take the on-line instructon a 4 AM in New York, or at 9 PM in Paris and it is all the same, and when people are never able to be in a physical or virtual csassroom setting atthe same time, yet they are pushed by cultural and economic forces to earn such degrees so demannd for them is huge--such possibilities do not exist. And with this the concerns over the potential abuse by those seeking degrees, or by those delivering such degrees, are understandably hightened, as are the difficulties/concerns associated with evaluating who has done the on-line work, and indeed who has evaluated the on-line work. When the for-profit motive is thrown into the mix, suspicions--merited or otherwise--naturally increase. And when thounsands or even tens of thousands of students are attempting to earn on-line degrees from institutions that operate as private corporations operate, and especially when student to faculty rations become ludicrously high (500 to 1, 1000 to 1), one has to suspend disbelief to conclude that quality instruction and learning are occurring.

There is clearly a difference between providing quality on-line education and producing video games for the massess,a difference between educating students and producing sausages in an automated factory. When the only measure that counts is the number, volume, and rate of production of sausages--degrees--there is a problem. Sausage factories becime a sloppy and e-coli productsv emerge, The equivalent happens with degrees produced in a similar manner. Convincing, meaningful mechanisms need to be developed to insure that quality is at the heart oif the process, thaty learning is indeed occurring, that the "consumer" is not taken for a ride, both at her/his expense and ultimately at society's expense.

Though serious work has already gone into developing meaningful, dependable, and rational approaches to evaluating on-line instruction, in truth I believe we do not yet have a good system of doing so for degree offereings that are delivered 100% on-line. Instead of castigating the HLC, there would be "more ptrofit" in the federal government funding the needed scientific educational research required to devise a better system of and criteria for evaluating on-line degrees, regardless of who delivers them. If such degrees cannot be evaluated meaningfully, then the nature of the problem changes entirely.

--More than a spectator.

17. kathden - December 18, 2009 at 01:39 pm

For years the North Central Association and the HLC have been the place to go for accreditation of for-profits.

Remember that one of the roots of the financial crash of 2007-2008 was that banks and other financial purveyors could "shop around" for the most congenial ratings.

18. mdefusco - December 18, 2009 at 01:51 pm

"Also, it is my opinion that it should be illegal to run anything that calls itself a (Pharmaceutical house, or a hospital, or an aerospace company, public utility etc.) as a for profit enterprise. Private, fine. For profit, not ok.

Have you ever heard anything so absurd?

19. intered - December 18, 2009 at 02:31 pm

This is ridiculous. Setting aside the relative merits of the school in question, perhaps it is time to do express our voices with respect to the incompetence of the Department.

http://www.intered.com/higheredbriefing and

http://www.intered.com/credithours (a 1995 article on the Carnegie Unit)/

20. sunking_2007 - December 18, 2009 at 04:00 pm

Quality of the delivery of education should be important. I think one of the ways that the for-profits will need to make changes in is the open admission of students. That is, anyone who wants a degree can have one. Not everyone is capable of getting a degree just like everyone is not capable of being a professional jock. However, education has meaning. Does quality matter? Sure it does. I know employers who will hire students only from AACSB approved business schools and they would throw the resumes from University of Phoenix, Strayer University, DeVry etc in the circular file. With open admissions it cheapens the degree so everyone will scrutinize degrees more because we cannot tell if if the program meets or exceeds quality expectations. Also another problem is that when unqualified students get admitted to for-profits and receive Title IV funds and they drop out they still need to payback the funds. However they have no degree but debt. However the for-profits made money off them. Who cares if they did not finish? We made some money. Packup and moveon. Let the salespeople (oops I mean enrollment counselors) at forprofits go out and get more people to meet their numbers. That is what counts at for profits. University of Phoenix is going to change this approach and focus more on students so they complete the programs. Well I would not hold my breath on this. In the world of profit-making motives, the botton are the numbers. Sorry but this is the reality. It is a hard balance to have profits and quality. Something has to give. Can you imagine if University of California system became a for profit system? The latter is food for thought.

21. mikpap - December 18, 2009 at 04:11 pm

I am not impressed with the US DOE. I've attended public and for-profit universities and found the experiences to be very similar. The only difference was that with the for-profit, courses were easier to schedule becasue they were not locked into the semester system. I've never taken an online course, but I have taught them for a public university. In my experience, safeguards were in place to prevent cheating. I suspect that the HLC/NCA and member institutions will flex their political muscles. I believe this situation is a continuation of the attempt by the DOE to gain control over higher education in the US. As a high school principal, I can say that their efforts in public education have not been that beneficial.

22. pattpeterson - December 18, 2009 at 04:24 pm

If Title IV funding were based on student retention rates (set a threshold, below which the funds begin shrinking) and with a high enough drop rate - the Title IV funding stops, then a lot of the predatory practices of for profit colleges would end.

Shouldn't colleges participate in risk sharing? If their programs are good, and students are provided with tutorial support, then the students will most likely complete their education goals. Come on and put some skin in the game...

23. arrive2dotnet - December 18, 2009 at 06:01 pm

The higher education establishment needs to uphold the quality of higher education in America, the question is how can or should they do it. I think the key way is to 'manage the flow of money'. I think the government is on the right track by stiffening the rules whereby institutions get eligibility for student loans. Apparently, a high student default rate means that the institution is not delivering enough value, in terms of ability to repay the loans, to justify its continuing to be eligible for such loans. Maybe the institution merits continuing to exist, but the premise of the federal student loan program is that the loans should only be given if they are likely to be paid back.

Basing an institutions eligibility for federal student loans based on degree or program completion would tend to put pressure on schools just let failing students pass, and get the degree regardless of standards. Also, there are courses that alone might qualify someone for a job, like in computer networking, where the student does not have to complete the degree to be successful and pay back the loan.

If the government wants to better assure the quality of instituional higher education in the US, one logical place to try to influence is the powerful accreditation organizations. So putting pressure on them to maintain high standards makes sense to me. By approving accreditation organizations as a qualification for student loans, the government is, in effect, the accreditor of the accreditors. If colleges require government student loan eligibility to survive ... so do their accreditors. It seems to me that the government more or less has a duty to look over the shoulder of the accreditors and tell them when they (the government) think the accreditor is out of line.

It is obvious that accreditor eligibility for government student loans is a political decision, so the measures the government may take will be limited. There is a balance between keeping the educational institution vibrant and healthy and serving all of society, and weeding out institutions that are wasting resources.

24. hendo - December 19, 2009 at 06:23 am

"The higher education establishment needs to uphold the quality of higher education in America, the question is how can or should they do it." You decide.

This problem is a special issue for Emergency Management personnel obtaining certifications for coursework in NIMS, SIMS, ICS and similar courses required to work in emergency response.

For example, emergency personnel have been observed sharing answers to work and completing individual's online examinations in groups.

At some point, when the rubber hits the road, individuals involved with this type of behavior will not have the knowledgebase to respond appropriately.

25. allens - December 19, 2009 at 11:04 pm

From personal experience, there's a lot of problems with the idea of counting only seat time in how much credit a course gives - at Rutgers, it resulted in the course I TAed getting 2.5 credits for the students, when they were spending enough time on it for 6 credits ot be justified. The reason appeared to be that the humanities-major administrators thought all laboratory courses involved no outside work for the laboratory portion (just for the classroom portion), which was far from the case, and as a result wanted to limit credit hours for laboratory courses.

26. johntoradze - December 20, 2009 at 11:52 am

I think that to receive federal funds (Pell's, loans, etc) schools should be required to maintain a minimum ratio of 1 full time faculty for each student. It should also be required that a minimum of 60% of those faculty be fully tenured. The tenured faculty should be required to be co-administrators who elect the key teaching administrators, and those teaching administrators must be able to appoint all secondary staff.

That legislation will end the abuses.

27. johntoradze - December 20, 2009 at 12:21 pm

Oops! (Got distracted at breakfast.) I think that to receive federal funds (Pell's, loans, etc) schools should be required to maintain a minimum ratio of 1 full time faculty for each twenty (20) students.

Sorry. (Clearly, 1:1 is ridiculous.)

28. amylynnhess76 - December 21, 2009 at 10:49 am

RE: If Title IV funding were based on student retention rates (set a threshold, below which the funds begin shrinking) and with a high enough drop rate - the Title IV funding stops, then a lot of the predatory practices of for profit colleges would end.

Shouldn't colleges participate in risk sharing? If their programs are good, and students are provided with tutorial support, then the students will most likely complete their education goals. Come on and put some skin in the game..."

Teaching to retain has come to mean teaching to entertain. It doesn't work, unfortunately - neither does free tutoring, extended office hours, or tap-dance routines. We, as professors, teach as best we can to the students who are placed in our classes, but we can only teach people who come to class, and we can only grade assignments we are actually given. Keep in mind there are no admissions requirements. Can you see how those of us who have freshman classes might have poor retention rates? So are we to be "blamed" on the back-end for low attrition?

29. 11331315 - December 21, 2009 at 10:52 am

OMG...are we still in a 19th Century World where we believe the only measure of learning are the numbers of tenured faculty? This would discount most community colleges and marginal nonprofits that do not have tenure. Even when I was a fulltime faculty member, I knew that if you take the brightest of students and lock them in a broom closet for four years with all the textbooks and exams, most of them would graduate cum laude or higher. I have been a peer reviewer for HLC and believe me, the mission of the college is the central focus of the accreditation evaluation and how effective is the organization in meeting its mission, which is student learning. All of the other factors described in the above comments are important, of course, credentialed faculty, fiscal resources, systems and infrastructure, strategic planning and internal reviews that strength the college and university. Do not for a moment think that all institutions of higher education should look and smell like flagship universities or ivy leagues. The diversity of our system of higher education and access to as many who seek to improve their lot should be preserved and promoted, whether it is bricks or megabytes. Once we seek to emphasize learning versus degrees as the touchstone of education and credentials, higher education's intrinsic value should change for the better overall. Not every student is fresh out of high school and can set aside four years of residential study. Not every student has parents wealthy enough to subsize their children in a non-profit college that costs upwards of $25K per year. Not every student realizes the value of education until he or she realizes that without education, projected lifetime earnings offer no future. Not every student has a quality high school to catapult them into a prestigious college. For-profits are capturing a market that the rest of higher education cannot or will not provide.

30. karennokill - December 23, 2009 at 04:40 am

Shut down The Higher Learning Commission and watch how many "diploma mills" will be exposed by this administrative because no other regional or national accreditor will accredit online colleges and universities that fall under The Higher Learning Commission.

Here's a big list of diploma mills from "geteducated.com" web site:


Ashford University
Capella University
Herzing University
Walden University
Kaplan University
University of Phoenix
Westwood College

The Higher Learning Commission cannot accredit programs offered by any of these online colleges and universities with a team of administrative assistants!

That's what "programmatic accreditation" is for, to accredit programs individually by a team of professionals i.e. a team of psychologists' accredits psychology programs, a team of computer scientist' accredits computer science programs, a team of nurses accredits nursing programs, etc.

Simply accreditation fraud at its finest!

Any online college or university that recently got denied accreditation should physically move business operations to Chicago Illinois like American Intercontinental University did because American Intercontinental got accredited by The Higher Learning Commission the minute it was open for "business" in Chicago to make profits.

Please visit web site "myphoenixmistake.webs.com" for more information about accreditation fraud!

31. slepore - December 25, 2009 at 03:48 am

Adjuncts are only by choice if they have other sources of income. That's fine and good. However in my world, being adjunct is not by choice. I would prefer either full-time or tenure, but finding this is close to an impossibility. Why deal with this in terms of benefits when you can get people to work on the fringe? I think there will be less opportunities for full-timers and tenures as we move into the future simply because not only do part- timers accept things like it is but also wherever there is a way to give less while taking more many schools will go this route, This is human nature.
Looking at so many on-line courses is like looking at tv dinners in place of good home-cooking. In certain cases one needs a quickie, but for a long stretch in place of the latter? No thank you.
I can see it working for some cases like where one cannot get around like most people due to some type of physical debilitation, or because of the type of course it is where brick and mortar is not really needed. I know and work with other instructors going for their higher degrees offered on line. Here we have very responsible individuals who have had lots of brick and mortar behind them. This makes a big difference. But in many cases I would put a sharp eye on online programs as far as accreditation is concerned. I mean look at it is it possible for there to be a happy medium between the two? if so, great, As for what I make of the matter It may just contribute to shutting people off from each other like so many other instances like, say, automated services when one uses the phone. There are a lot of examples where less people are needed to get the job done;but wait, are we supposed to be proving futures in work as opposed to decreasing person-to-person jobs? who is benefiting in the long run the manny or the few?

32. jdxxxe - January 07, 2010 at 10:06 pm

It is worth noticing that by no means all online universities, or even all for-profit ones, are accredited through North Central, with its notoriously low standards. My own institution, TUI University, is fully accredited through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges' Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities, which is particularly sensitive to issues of academic quality and the students' educational experience. Just to say that a school is "accredited", without specifying who is doing the accrediting and against what standards, doesn't help much. Those who comment on the quality of higher education being delivered by various categories of schools need to be more sensitive to the standards to which they are being held. We deliberately sought out WASC accreditation because of its stringency and emphasis on quality, knowing that was what we can and do deliver, as a way of differentiating ourselves from online institutions not committed to similar high standards, There is no doubt that we have a legitimate degree of suspicion to overcome in establishing our educational bona fides, one created for us by the less than scrupulous conduct of some similar institutions. But the efforts we have put into meeting the exacting standards of the most serious accrediting agency for higher education in the country should earn us some ability to avoid being lumped into the "degree mill" category simply because of our mode of educational interaction with our students.


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