More community colleges facing accreditation problems

Jul 22, 2013 by

Cutbacks are seen as one reason for lack of maintaining standards. Students’ credits can be in jeopardy if campuses lose their status.

A warning to Los Angeles Mission College to correct a number of academic and administrative deficiencies didn’t come as a great surprise to Daniel Campos.

The former student body president had long been frustrated with campus infighting, perceptions of cultural insensitivity and inadequate counseling and other student services.

All of these issues and others were cited recently by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges when it put the Sylmar campus on notice that it must make improvements.

“Most students in general are not aware of the impact of accrediting decisions,” said Campos, who also served as student trustee for the Los Angeles Community College District. “If the college loses accreditation, I’ll lose transfer credits, so I’ll need to find a way to line up everything in one year in case that happens.”

The warning issued to Mission is the mildest of the possible penalties. The college will remain accredited pending a follow-up report due by March 2014.

But in a raft of actions earlier this month, the panel made the rare decision to revoke accreditation from City College of San Francisco in July 2014 (the college is appealing) and issued warnings to Los Angeles Valley, Orange Coast and six other campuses. Sanctions were removed from West Los Angeles and Harbor colleges and seven other campuses.

Of California’s 112 community colleges, one, College of the Sequoias in the Central Valley town of Visalia, is operating under the most serious penalty — “show cause” — meaning the college is substantially out of compliance with requirements and must correct deficiencies to remain accredited. Five other colleges are on probationary status, and 13 have been given warnings.

The Novato, Calif.-based commission is one of seven private, nonprofit regional panels authorized by the federal government to award or terminate accreditation. Commissioners, who come from the ranks of college faculty, administrators and members of the public, visit campuses in teams and grade schools on governance, financial stability, instructional programs and how well students are learning.

Accreditation is voluntary. But non-accredited colleges lose eligibility for state funding and federal financial aid and imperil the ability of students to transfer credits.

Many educators and others are questioning why so many California community colleges are struggling to maintain standards. A 2012 Cal State Sacramento research paper found that 62 institutions were on some form of sanction over the last decade and that the percentage of sanctions is increasing.

via More community colleges facing accreditation problems –

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