Ashford University Accreditation

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Ashford University's Accreditation

Ashford University has a campus in Clinton Iowa at 400 North Bluff Avenue. The university has been there for more than a century. Ashford University is accredited by the North Central Association.

There are six primary accrediting agencies in the United States. The North Central Association is one of these six. These six regional accrediting agencies are themselves validated by the U.S. Department of Education.

The North Central Association has a sub-component which accredits universities and colleges. This is the Higher Learning Commission. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Ashford University.

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Future Accreditation?

Though Ashford University is accredited by the North Central Association, an application for accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges has been filed. I know this because in January, 2012, I received and participated in a survey sent by the WASC.

This may be because the North Central Association (the Higher Learning Commission) has been under pressure from the U.S. Department of Education. The HCL issued a partial, limited accreditation to American Intercontinental University. Later, the USDE addressed the issue as if the HCL had issued a full accreditation, and called into question the evaluation of a "credit hour" used to qualify courses and draw Title IV funds.

Ashford received accreditation in legacy as Bridgepoint Education purchased the existing Franciscan School of the Prairies (a Catholic institution in bankruptcy). However, two later attempts to repeat this shortcut to accreditation were blocked by HLC.

For more detailed information on this, see this article by Doug Lederman: Looking West

Distance Education Training Council

The Distance Education Training Council is a national accrediting agency. It is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as an official accrediting agency for programs which receive Title IV funding, and for those which do not receive Title IV.

The DETC, however, is not the accrediting agency for Ashford. The North Central Association (the HLC) accredits Ashford. However, it appears that, in the future, the WASC may be the regional accrediting agency. The shift appears to be politically driven. However, the justification for AU is that the majority of administrative offices are located in San Diego, California, which is part of the normal regional authority for the WASC.

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