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Bridgepoint Education, Inc. (BPI) Message Board

  • docteurnot docteurnot Jan 10, 2013 2:00 PM Flag

    Baby Phoenix……

    The recent disclosure from the University of Phoenix that it has been informed that it will soon be receiving a draft team report that it may be put “on notice” by the HLC is potentially bad news for Ashford University. The date of the last HLC evaluation at Phoenix was back in 2002.

    The two institutions share many similarities: most of the senior BPI executive team members are APOL alumni; both schools rely on online enrollments for the vast majority of their revenues; and, both institutions were criticized in the Harkin report for many of the same findings on low retention rates, high default rates, an insufficient # of FT faculty, high marketing costs, etc.

    At this late date, Ashford has most likely received and responded to its draft team report in advance of its scheduled HLC meeting in February – any guesses as to the final report recommendations?

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    • It appears you are finally doing some basic due diligence, such as actually reading the team report.

      Next step is to work on your critical reasoning skills. When an accreditation association denies a school accreditation (i.e. a refusal to grant a request or desire) it usually means “NO” the applicant school does not meet its standards.

      I encourage you to also try reading some of the company’s financial filings and price charts. Usually, when a stock price drops sharply in half it means most rational investors believe there are serious issues with a company vs. thinking that the price drop presents a buying opportunity.

      My diagnosis is that you are suffering from a different type of denial (i.e. a psychological defense mechanism in which confrontation with a personal problem or with reality is avoided by denying the existence of the problem or reality).

      Sentiment: Sell

      • 2 Replies to docteurnot
      • From the most recent BPI 10K filing with the SEC:

        "In September 2010, Ashford University applied for eligibility from the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (“WASC”). In May 2011, Ashford University received a letter from WASC stating that the WASC Eligibility Review Committee has reviewed the application and determined that the university meets all of the WASC eligibility criteria and may proceed with an application for initial accreditation."

        Here's what concerns me. After the good news that WASC found Ashford met its eligibility criteria, slightly more than a year later, on July 9, 2012, WASC denies accreditation.

        Here are my questions:

        What happened between May 2011 and July 2012 to change WASC's view of Ashford?

        How often does WASC deny an application for initial accreditation after finding an institution meets all the eligibility criteria? My guess: rarely.

        Of those cases where it does, how often does it subsequently grant accreditation? My guess is even more rarely.

        WASC is not a wishy washy accrediting body. It takes alot for them to change their assessment of a college. With all the future BPI headlines that are going to materiallize related to the ongoing investigations and class action suits, why would WASC risk encumbering themselves with Ashford. It's much easier to steer clear of this trainwreck....which is exactly what they are doing.

      • HB,

        I found a course in the Ashford Catalog which you can audit of only $230.00:

        PHI 104 Fundamentals of Critical Reasoning 3 Credits
        This course offers a comprehensive guide to critical reasoning. It will focus on thought and language, patterns of argumentation including fallacies and deductive and inductive reasoning, argument analysis, and modes of proof including arguments in the disciplines. This course satisfies the Critical Thinking competency.

        :) Doc Not

    • The only difference I have with your assessment is that I am not sure whether BPI has an accurate understanding of what it will have to do to satisify the HLC regarding the "substantial presence" requirement.

      The HLC's forthcoming decision on this matter may be more influenced by BPI's sins of the past and the risks to the HLC's reputation from being the accrediting body for a college that is facing ongoing adverse PR exposure stemming from the school's past practices, many of which are currently under governmental investigation or in litigation.

      I don't think the HLC relishes continuing to run the risk of putting itself in the spot light in any way, shape or form with this situation.

      Keep in mind, every time BPI surfaces in the news, as long as the HLC accredits Ashford, the HLC risks putting itself under the microscope. I think I read somewhere that the HLC accredits thousands of institutions of higher learning. If true, can someone tell me how it was even remotely possible to do so on the HLC's meager $13 million annual budget.

      As the Harkin report noted, the "for profit" colleges flocked to the HLC for accreditation. Could it have been because they knew the HLC, with its limited resources, would be a lax accrediting body.

      Does anyone else see the absurdity of having an onganization (the HLC) with a $13 million annual budget being the gatekeeper for billions of dollars of Title IV funding?

      I think that's the story the HLC does not want in the headlines and may be why they are now taking a harsher stance with the "for profit" schools.

      Better late than never? Not for tens of thousands of students that dropped or flunked out of Ashford, a college than spent less than $250 per student for instructors....with predictable results.

    • I mentioned earlier that I thought the HLC was going to come down hard on BPI and I have no reason to believe otherwise. HLC's reputation took a huge hit at the Harkin hearings and I think all of this is showing that it can be the sheriff. The APOL action makes me think February could be a very bad month for the company, but time will tell.

      Maybe that's why they are being downgraded. Most recently by Zachs. The one I would be most concerned about would be if Piper Jaffray downgrades them. Piper has seemed to be more of a BPI cheer leader than an equity analyst. They have been consistently wrong since Harkin started going after BPI. If they ever jump ship, it's a bad sign.

      BTW - how often can PJ be wrong before they lose all credibility? Let's watch and find out.

      • 1 Reply to lonesometrain
      • There is no reason why HLC would cut them any breaks - during the hearing Sen. Harkin grilled Sylvia Manning, HLC President, about their inaction on Bridgepoint’s shortcomings and questioning whether regional accreditation was even effective. The regional accreditation bodies are quite subjective in their decision making and have long memories.

 
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