K. Mennem 7:17 p.m., June 17
Accreditor puts Bridgepoint on notice
It's one more concern about for-profit university's accreditation
Bridgepoint Education, the extremely controversial for-profit educational operation, posted a notice with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today (Feb. 28) that it has more accreditation problems. The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges told Bridgepoint's Ashford University that it has been placed on notice because of concerns about the online school's capacity to meet newly revised criteria effective January of this year and its current non-compliance with the accreditor's "substantial presence" policy, or its educational footprint within North Central's jurisdiction. Ashford remains accredited for now, but the commission states that, according to the SEC filing, the institution "is pursuing a course of action that, if continued, could lead it to be out of compliance with one or more criteria for accreditation." Ashford, an online operation, accounts for almost all of Bridgepoint's students. Sen. Tom Harkin has called Bridgepoint "an absolute scam," partly because it spends so much more money recruiting students than educating them.
In July, Ashford failed to receive accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. At the same time, the Higher Learning Commission warned that Ashford must show that it has a "substantial presence" in the North Central area.
In October, Bridgepoint brought in a new president who appears to have clout among accrediting bodies. Also in October, the Justice Department said it is investigating compensation paid to Bridgepoint's admissions staff. Thanks to Matt Potter for alerting me to this filing.