Ashford Wins Accreditation

November  13, 2013

     The second time was the charm for Ashford University in Clinton. After failing to win accreditation last year, it's now fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and the US Department of Education.

     The president, Richard Pattenaude, says part of the problem was the transition from a traditional college, to being owned by a for-profit company, Bridgepoint Education. 

     "Since we're new, they take a real close look, turn over all the furniture, and make sure everything is in order. And they asked us to do some things to make sure they were very comfortable with what we're presenting to students."

     Problems identified last year included not enough faculty, and that the board of trustees was not considered to be independent. But Doctor Pattendaude says those have been fixed, along with strengthening Ashford's student retention program - it's called the Ashford Promise. 

     "Students who join us - for the first three weeks we monitor their work. And if at the end of three weeks it looks like they're not going to be successful, we allow them to withdraw with no record, no cost, and no debt. So this reduces the number of students who come into an online environment and are surprised by how challenging it is."

      One of the critical benefits of accreditation is making Ashford students are eligible to participate in federal financial aid programs.  The accreditation will have to be renewed in five years.