The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local Schools

July 10, 2012

Ashford University denied accreditation

School officials to reapply in December

CLINTON — Ashford University officials announced Monday the for-profit university was denied initial accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

WASC is one of seven regional accrediting commissions, accrediting schools in California, Hawaii and the U.S. Pacific Islands.

While the WASC acknowledged, in the letter explaining the denial, the “substantial investment” Ashford made to the Clinton campus, it noted several deficiencies for accreditation in its region.  

Among the items that did not meet accreditation standards were student retention and completion methods including tracking student progress, a sufficient core of full-time faculty members, and an effective system for assuring and monitoring student learning and academic rigor.

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, according to the background information provided by the WASC.

Ashford officials have until Dec. 1 to prove it meets the “substantial presence” requirement set forth by the HLC in order to maintain its accreditation.

During a meeting to discuss the demolition of the former Clinton Country Club building last month, Ashford Vice President John Ballheim revealed that the university has no current plans to expand its presence in Clinton.

If Ashford does not meet the standard it could potentially have its HLC accreditation revoked. Losing accreditation altogether would have a substantial negative impact on the for-profit college including the loss of federal funding.

Ashford’s parent company, Bridgepoint Education, shared the news of the denial Monday, causing its stocks to tumble by more than 33 percent. Bridgepoint stocks have been down 47 percent over the past 12 months, despite an increase in enrollment.

Other for-profit colleges have seen similar drops in stock prices.  DeVry stocks are down 50 percent over the past 12 months, while Apollo Group has seen a 27.8 percent decrease over the same time period.

Ashford officials plan to appeal the commission’s decision and reapply for accreditation as permitted by WASC procedures. The accreditation would not be granted until June of 2013.

Text Only
Local Schools
  • JUST IN: Three interested in Guillory's seat

    Three former board members have inquired about ex-Clinton Community School board member Devin Guillory's seat, according to district business manager Cindy McAleer. Guillory resigned in June after accepting a job in Saudi Arabia and the district has been fielding interest the last two weeks.

    July 2, 2014

  • Survey may impact goals CLINTON — When the Clinton Community School Board meets to reassess its annual goals today, an important process will be at hand, Superintendent Deb Olson said.“I believe it’s important because it kind of sets the vision for the district moving forwa

    June 17, 2014

  • UPDATED: School board names new Clinton High principal

    June 9, 2014

  • UPDATED: District rehires recently terminated teacher

    Melissa Luckritz, who was terminated for budget reasons last month, will teach third grade at Whittier Elementary.

    June 9, 2014

  • Playground dominant Playground hours cut

    CLINTON -- Deb Olson doesn't want anyone to get hurt on Clinton School District property. As the Clinton School District's superintendent, Olson doesan't want criminal activity on the district's property, either. Olson said that because of a few inc

    June 5, 2014 3 Photos

  • CHS principal resigns

    Throughout her 14-year tenure with Clinton Community Schools, "what's best for kids" was Karinne Tharaldson Jones' guiding philosophy.

    On Friday, she told staff one child has become a priority — Liam Jones.

    May 9, 2014

  • BREAKING: CHS Principal informs staff of resignation

    Principal Karinne Tharaldson Jones informed Clinton High, school district she has accepted a position with Bettendorf AEA.

    May 9, 2014

  • 3-28-14 1B-Signees 1 Four for signing day FULTON, Ill. -- Four seniors from Fulton High School will go on to play college athletics next fall, with all four of them staying within a 3-hour traveling distance. Only Matt Dail, who is going to Trinity Christian College in Illinois to play baske

    March 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Schools eye same sports-sharing policy CLINTON -- Since 1982 the state of Iowa has allowed athletic sharing agreements between neighboring school districts and it is anticipated that the Clinton School District will continue to take advantage of that allowance into the 2014-2015 school ye

    March 25, 2014

  • 3-25-14 Clinton Middle School photo Projects shuffled as ground thaws CLINTON -- Progress is moving along at the Clinton Middle School, although contractors feel they may be teetering on the edge of their projected schedule. Unfavorable weather and a brutal winter have delayed some aspects of the project, which was ant

    March 25, 2014 2 Photos