Online for-profit college faces accreditation rejection, shareholder lawsuit

Ashford’s dropout rate since 2007 is 50 percent.

Ashford University, one of the country’s fastest growing online for-profit schools, is fighting to remain accredited while investors are suing the university’s parent company for an elaborate insider trading scheme and alleged violations of financial filings with the federal government.

July hasn’t been a good month for Ashford or its parent company, Bridgepoint Education, and it could get worse for the company if it doesn’t quell concerns about high student dropout rates, academic rigor, and a low number of full-time Ashford faculty members.

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) last week rejected Ashford’s bid for accreditation – a public admonition that sent Bridgepoint’s stock prices tumbling by more than 30 percent. The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, another accrediting body, is now giving Ashford a month to comply with basic accreditation criteria, according to a Bridgepoint filing.…Read More

Students, lawmakers question value of for-profit colleges

A Senate report revealed abysmal graduation rates at some for-profit schools.

Taryn Zychal thought she’d be working as an industrial designer after graduating from the Art Institute of Philadelphia. Instead, it’s the debt collection agencies that are working overtime, calling her nearly 30 times a day from 8:30 in the morning to 9:30 at night.

The 27-year-old says she has around $150,000 due in loan payments from attending the private, for-profit university, but Zychal said she couldn’t get a job in her chosen field, and not one of her credits would transfer when she tried to switch to another school.

With what she says is a useless degree, she can’t pay her loans, which cost $1,500 a month.…Read More