Will shutdown of online education program scare off other colleges?

In an effort to reach new students, more schools are partnering with companies that enable online education options, Gigaom reports. But the recent closure of Ivy Bridge, an online associates-degree program, could make schools considering similar options more wary. Ivy Bridge is jointly managed by Tiffin University, a non-profit college in Ohio, and Altius Education, a for-profit education company based in San Francisco. Since its creation in 2008, the program has offered students an online path to a two-year associate’s degree that they can then use to transfer to one of 150 four-year partner institutions in the country. In 2012, it reportedly enrolled about 2,000 of Tiffin’s 6,900 students. Last week, Altius and Tiffin announced that their regional accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), had ordered them to discontinue Ivy Bridge classes. Altius said that, in 2010, the accrediting body had approved the program through 2020, but after recent changes to its policies, the HLC decided that its business structure did not meet its requirements.

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