Tighter State Supervision Sought at Ohio For-profit Colleges

DAYTON — Lawmakers will soon see legislation introduced to tighten government oversight and increase transparency in an effort to better protect students at for-profit schools.

State Rep. Clayton Luckie, D-Dayton, said Tuesday, July 20, he will introduce a bill within 10 days that will require schools to be more open about the accreditation status of programs, disclose ongoing investigations into possible violations and to make it easier for students to get refunds when there are problems with instruction.

Luckie said he wants to see the Legislature act quickly after more than 200 students have called his office about problems at area schools.

“This has gone on long enough,” he said, standing in front of Miami-Jacobs Career College in downtown Dayton. “They haven’t kept their promise.”

Miami-Jacobs is in the middle of arbitration with seven students in surgery technology who believed the school was accredited when they attended only to find after graduation that it was not. The college’s respiratory care program has accreditation problems and the Ohio Board of Nursing received a staff recommendation to pull the school’s conditional approval and deny full approval of the nursing program.

In a June visit to Miami-Jacobs, state investigators found more problems with the nursing program, including the school employing an under-qualified administrator, new faculty members not receiving proper orientation and curriculum not meeting state standards.

These findings will be officially reported to the nursing board on July 30 and likely will be addressed at a September hearing, when college officials will try to save their accreditation by rebutting past findings including having other unqualified instructors teaching in the nursing program. Darlene Waite, Miami-Jacobs president, has said she continues to be confident the school’s nursing program will earn approval from the nursing board.

Luckie hopes his legislation will be a step in cleaning up problems such as those reported at Miami-Jacobs and will help students who have experienced similar difficulties at other schools.

Miami-Jacobs officials would not comment on the legislation, but R. David Rankin, executive director of the Ohio Association of Career Colleges and Schools, said for-profit schools already have state oversight and would welcome more if it was in the “best interest of our students.”

“We will gladly compare the record of career colleges and schools with Ohio’s public colleges,” he said.

Dayton Daily News

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