By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer
Ashford University is no longer pursuing an appeal of the Western Association of Schools and College’s recent accreditation denial.
The university has announced it will instead focus on the reapplication process.
After Ashford was denied initial accreditation by the WASC in June, its parent company, Bridgepoint Education, Inc., announced it would simultaneously seek an appeal of the denial and re-apply for the accreditation.
While Ashford is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the HLC’s North Central Association through 2015 — the HLC is the accrediting body for a 19-state region, including Iowa — Ashford was seeking the WASC accreditation because the primary focus of its activities have shifted from Iowa to California since it was accredited by the HLC in 2006. Ashford’s online enrollment has increased tenfold in recent years, with most of its students being served out of the San Diego office.
The re-application process does not require Ashford to complete a full self-study. Ashford intends to file the application on Oct. 11.
Ashford continues to work with the HLC after being placed on “special monitoring status” in July.
It has submitted two reports demonstrating compliance with the HLC’s criteria for accreditation and core components.
The university will have until Dec. 1 to present the HLC with an implementation plan that demonstrates how it will comply with the substantial presence requirement in the event that the WASC does not accredit the university.
The HLC Board of Trustees will review this plan in February 2013. If Ashford is required to implement the plan it would need to move its core operations to the 19-state region accredited by the HLC immediately after the anticipated June 2013 WASC decision.
Total loss of accreditation would result in the university being unable to access federal student loans and grants, which account for more than 85 percent of its revenues.