Chancellor University Maintains its Accreditation

After months of uncertainty about its future, Chancellor University in Cleveland announced today it has maintained its accreditation.

The Higher Learning Commission in Chicago — the accrediting body for the for-profit institution — issued Chancellor a "show-cause" order in February 2010, which gave the university almost a year to show it’s deserving of continued accreditation. The commission questioned whether Chancellor met accreditation criteria related to board governance, finances and assessment of student learning.

Losing accreditation could have been a potential death knell for the institution formerly known as Myers University, which also had struggled financially and nearly closed on previous occasions. Without accreditation, the university’s students couldn’t receive federal financial aid.

The Higher Learning Commission instituted a review process that gave the school several months to improve its operations and finances. That process culminated in the decision to remove Chancellor from show-cause status.

In a prepared statement, Chancellor president Robert C. Daugherty said that while the past several months "have been challenging, we have never wavered in our focus on adhering to our values to attain our educational goals."

"Our students, faculty and staff remained committed to and supportive of this historic institution through months of long hours and hard work under uncertain and difficult conditions," Mr. Daugherty said.

The prepared statement did not go into any detail about Chancellor’s future plans. However, the school previously has disclosed plans to move from its location at East 40th Street and Chester Avenue in Cleveland’s Midtown area to a site with more space and parking.

Chancellor officials haven’t signaled where they might relocate, but a source told Crain’s in August the college was looking at office buildings in the suburbs near highway interchanges — a popular locale among those in the for-profit education sector. Chancellor is leasing its current home from the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority for $17,179 a month through June, according to Brent Leslie, chief financial officer for the port authority.

A key to Chancellor’s success is likely its online graduate business program that launched early last year. The highly publicized degree program is driven by former General Electric Co. CEO Jack Welch, who also invested in the for-profit college. The program was announced in June 2009 but was put on hold when Mr. Welch was admitted to the hospital for a rare spine infection.

The degree program has received a significant amount of media coverage, with Mr. Welch last fall awarding a contestant on the NBC reality show “The Apprentice” with a two-year scholarship to the program.

CRAIN’S CLEVELAND

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