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Ashford University to close its doors

One more year for Iowa-based campus, then it's online only

After spending recent years facing enrollment declines and fighting to retain accredited status , Ashford University, a tiny Iowa-based college owned and operated by San Diego's Bridgepoint Education, announced it will be closing its doors following the upcoming school year.

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Just 1 percent of Ashford's approximately 45,000 students actually attend classes at the Clinton, Iowa, campus — most are enrolled in one of Bridgepoint's online degree programs, also offered under the name University of the Rockies, another small school owned by Bridgepoint.

Bridgepoint officials say that keeping the campus open another year will allow approximately 35 percent of remaining students to graduate. Others will likely be offered online courses, though Bridgepoint says it's attempting to negotiate transfer agreements with other local universities.

According to a report in the Iowa City Press-Citizen, the closure comes following a three-year investigation that wound up in a $7.25 million settlement agreed to in 2014 after "complaints that alleged the for-profit online school used coercive recruitment efforts and omitted information necessary for students to make informed decisions." About 5000 Iowa students were eligible to participate in the settlement.

Following the closure, it appears Bridgepoint intends to continue offering classes under the Ashford name, though the school will exist only as an online entity.

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After spending recent years facing enrollment declines and fighting to retain accredited status , Ashford University, a tiny Iowa-based college owned and operated by San Diego's Bridgepoint Education, announced it will be closing its doors following the upcoming school year.

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Just 1 percent of Ashford's approximately 45,000 students actually attend classes at the Clinton, Iowa, campus — most are enrolled in one of Bridgepoint's online degree programs, also offered under the name University of the Rockies, another small school owned by Bridgepoint.

Bridgepoint officials say that keeping the campus open another year will allow approximately 35 percent of remaining students to graduate. Others will likely be offered online courses, though Bridgepoint says it's attempting to negotiate transfer agreements with other local universities.

According to a report in the Iowa City Press-Citizen, the closure comes following a three-year investigation that wound up in a $7.25 million settlement agreed to in 2014 after "complaints that alleged the for-profit online school used coercive recruitment efforts and omitted information necessary for students to make informed decisions." About 5000 Iowa students were eligible to participate in the settlement.

Following the closure, it appears Bridgepoint intends to continue offering classes under the Ashford name, though the school will exist only as an online entity.

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