A for-profit court reporting and paralegal training college has closed after losing its accreditation, leaving hundreds of students in limbo Tuesday without classes, degrees or a clear path forward.
The announcement on Friday by Sage College, two weeks before the end of its quarter, came after its accrediting agency, Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges, was shut down by the federal government.
The U.S. Department of Education decided in June to remove the council from its approved list of accrediting bodies, according to a letter sent to students by Sage College.
The council tried to obtain a restraining order to stop the process, but a federal judge rejected its bid earlier this month.
“Sage College very proactively explored moving forward with a new accreditor,” the college stated on its website.
“However, we learned that court reporting programs do not meet required benchmarks to qualify for the approval process. Therefore moving forward in that direction was not a viable option for us.”
The college operates campuses in Moreno Valley and San Diego.
The loss of accreditation means the school was no longer able to rely on funds from federal student loans.
In the letter, the college said it would offer “administrative support” to help students whose studies were interrupted by the closure explore other options.
The college an enrollment of 407 undergraduate students, according to the latest figures on the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard, and a graduation rate of 18 percent, well below the national average of 42 percent.
The U.S. Department of Education cited “pervasive noncompliance” with student achievement standards among the reasons for shutting down the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges.
In one fell swoop, the decision eliminated access to federal financial aid to hundreds of schools accredited by ACICS, which enrolled nearly 800,000 students.
Students who were enrolled in Sage College will have the option to discharge any federal loans taken out while attending the school through a federal forgiveness program.
“This is not what we wanted for you, for our amazing staff, nor our administration. We are all extremely devastated by this loss,” the college said on its website.
The ACICS accredited 64 institutions in California, including ITT Technical Institute’s Corona campus and Brightwood College in Riverside.
However, most other colleges accepted a provisional certification allowing them to remain open for 18 months while they establish new accreditation.
–City News Service
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