The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Top News

July 11, 2013

UPDATE: Ashford lands sought-after accreditation, garners accolades

SAN DIEGO — Ashford University has been granted initial accreditation from the western accrediting body that rejected the university last year.  

Ashford’s parent company, Bridgepoint Education, announced Wednesday afternoon that the school received initial accreditation for five years from the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Bridgepoint Vice President of Public Relations Shari Rodriguez told the Herald that the switch in accreditation from the Midwest-based Higher Learning Commission to the WASC will not affect the Clinton campus.  

‘It will remain fully operational and there will be no change or interruption of services for any Ashford University student,” Rodriguez said.

The approval brings to a close a year-long accreditation battle that started last year when WASC denied Ashford initial accreditation due to what it said was the university’s focus on student recruitment rather than student success.  

That denial caught the attention of HLC officials, who put Ashford on notice with a warning to either change or face losing accreditation. Ashford maintained HLC accreditation through the entire process.  

Ashford sought WASC accreditation because although it’s physical campus is in Clinton, a majority of the more than 75,000 Ashford students take courses online. Most of the company’s online operations are based in California.  

Since being denied last year, Bridgepoint officials have implemented a number of changes to address WASC concerns, including reducing the number of students and shifting jobs from recruiting to student retention. Last month the company also reduced its workforce through a buyout program that resulted in $6.2 million in costs associated with employees who voluntarily resigned.  

The WASC Commission Action Letter to Ashford stated: “The Commission found that the University has responded to Commission concerns and judges that it is now in substantial compliance with Commission standards.”

The WASC visiting team noted within its final report that “the team found an institution that has been fundamentally transformed and whose culture has been changed in significant ways, including a shift from a market-driven approach to an institution committed to student retention and success, a transformation that is enthusiastically supported by the Board of Trustees, the new President, administration, faculty and staff.”

Retaining accreditation is critical for Bridgepoint because it is required for students to qualify for federal student loans. More than 85 percent of Bridgepoint’s revenue comes from federal student-aid loan programs.

Officials with Ashford’s parent company, Bridgepoint Education, applauded WASC’s recognition of the university’s educational worth.  

“From our students and alumni, to our faculty and staff, to our trustees and shareholders, today’s announcement reaffirms Ashford University’s and Bridgepoint Education’s collective commitment to student success,” Bridgepoint Education Chief Executive Officer Andrew Clark said. “Throughout this organization and its academic institutions, there is a passion for education and the transformative difference it can make. We appreciate WASC’s recognition of Ashford University’s efforts and know that those same efforts will benefit our students through both the ongoing and new initiatives Ashford has implemented throughout this process.”  

 

1
Text Only
Top News
  • Amid Russian warning, Ukraine's in a security bind

    Ukraine's highly publicized goal to recapture police stations and government buildings seized by pro-Russia forces in the east produced little action on the ground Wednesday but ignited foreboding words from Moscow.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that Russia would mount a firm response if its citizens or interests come under attack in Ukraine. Although he did not specifically say Russia would launch a military attack, his comments bolstered wide concern that Russia could use any violence in eastern Ukraine as a pretext for sending in troops.

    April 23, 2014

  • UN seeks probe of alleged chlorine gas in Syria

    The U.N. Security Council called for an investigation Wednesday into reports of alleged chlorine gas use in some Syrian towns, causing deaths and injuries.

    Nigeria's U.N. Ambassador U. Joy Ogwu, the current council president, said the allegations were raised during a closed-door council meeting following a briefing Wednesday by Sigrid Kaag, who heads the mission charged with destroying Syria's chemical weapons.

    April 23, 2014

  • A 'wearable robot' helps her walk again

    Science is about facts, numbers, laws and formulas. To be really good at it, you need to spend a lot of time in school. But science is also about something more: dreaming big and helping people.

    April 23, 2014

  • Justin Bieber apologizes for Japan war shrine trip

    Justin Bieber apologized Wednesday to those he offended by visiting a Japanese war shrine, saying he thought it was a beautiful site and only a place of prayer.

    The Yasukuni Shrine in central Tokyo enshrines 2.5 million war dead, including Japan's 14 convicted war criminals, and operates a war museum that defends Japan's wartime aggression. It is a flashpoint between Japan and its neighbors that see the shrine as distinct from other Shinto-style establishments mainly honoring gods of nature. China and South Korea in particular see Yasukuni as a symbol of Japan's past militarism and consider Japanese officials' visits there as a lack of understanding or remorse over wartime history.

    April 23, 2014

  • Internet TV case: Justices skeptical, concerned

    Grappling with fast-changing technology, Supreme Court justices debated Tuesday whether they can protect the copyrights of TV broadcasters to the shows they send out without strangling innovations in the use of the internet.

    The high court heard arguments in a dispute between television broadcasters and Aereo Inc., which takes free television signals from the airwaves and charges subscribers to watch the programs on laptop computers, smartphones and even their large-screen televisions. The case has the potential to bring big changes to the television industry.

    April 23, 2014

  • Cuba is running out of condoms

    The newest item on Cuba's list of dwindling commodities is condoms, which are now reportedly in short supply. In response, the Cuban government has approved the sale of expired condoms.

    April 23, 2014

  • The waffle taco's biggest enemy isn't McDonald's. It's consumer habits.

    Gesturing to Taco Bell, Thompson said McDonald's had "not seen an impact relative to the most recent competitor that entered the [breakfast] space," and that new competition would only make McDonald's pursue breakfast more aggressively.

    April 23, 2014

  • Soldier convicted in WikiLeaks case gets new name

    An Army private convicted of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks won an initial victory Wednesday to living as a woman when a Kansas judge granted a petition to change her name to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.

    The decision clears the way for official changes to Manning's military records, but does not compel the military to treat the soldier previously known as Bradley Edward Manning as a woman.

    April 23, 2014

  • First lady announces one-stop job site for vets

    To help veterans leaving the military as it downsizes, the government on Wednesday started a one-stop job-shopping website for them to create resumes, connect with employers and become part of a database for companies to mine.

    April 23, 2014

  • Schultz deputy lost duties, kept pay

    Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, who is running for Congress as a budget-cutting conservative, allowed his top aide to keep collecting a $126,000 annual salary for months after deciding to eliminate his job, The Associated Press has learned.

    Schultz decided in May 2012 to cut the office's chief deputy position held for 17 months by Jim Gibbons, a former Iowa State wrestling coach and Republican congressional candidate, under a restructuring that ultimately saved money. But rather than dismiss Gibbons quickly as he did to four career workers laid off that summer, Schultz took unusual steps that kept his political appointee on the payroll through the end of the year.

    April 23, 2014

AP Video