Accreditation at Risk

An online for-profit college in California that serves mostly military service members is on the verge of losing its regional accreditation, for failing to ensure that students transferring in had fulfilled their general education requirements and, more importantly, for failing to tell the accreditor about the problem.

At its meeting last month, the senior college commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges voted to end the accreditation of Trident University International by March unless the institution’s officials can "demonstrate … why its accreditation should not be terminated," the accrediting agency announced this week.

Trident, which was formerly known as TUI University and was Touro University’s online arm until sold to a private equity firm in 2007, enrolls about 4,000 undergraduates and about that many graduate students, according to the Education Department, and most of its students transfer in having accumulated significant credits from military training and other institutions, with the goal of completing their bachelor’s degrees at Trident.

But the Western accrediting agency found evidence of "previously unidentified deficiencies in Trident’s administrative systems that verify that each student has met general education requirements for an undergraduate degree," Nolan A. Miura, Trident’s interim president and chief executive officer, said in an e-mail message. In an interview, Miura said that for a "small number of students," Trident was unable to affirm that the credits they had been awarded previously fulfilled Trident’s degree requirements for general education.

"There was absolutely no intent behind the error," Miura said via e-mail.

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INSIDE HIGHER ED

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