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California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools

Accreditor Excuses Faulty Job-Placement Reports at Career Education Corp.

05/07/2012

The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 7, 2012

The Career Education Corporation, which owns more than 90 for-profit colleges worldwide, announced on Monday that its accreditor had removed a "show cause" order, which had required the company to prove why it should remain accredited.

The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools issued the order in November, after Career Education revealed problems in its reports of job-placement rates at 49 of its health and art-and-design colleges.

Career Education discovered the problem as it was gathering documents to respond to a subpoena from the New York attorney general. The company hired a lawyer to investigate placement-rate practices on all of its campuses, and reported its findings to the council.

The investigation confirmed that certain graduates' placements "lacked sufficient supporting documentation" or otherwise failed to meet the company's "placement guidelines," according to a company news release. Removing those graduates from the totals caused all but 13 of the company's health-education and art-and-design colleges to drop below the 65-percent placement-rate benchmark set by the council.

While the immediate threat of losing accreditation is now past, four of the corporation's colleges will be on probation, the company said: Sanford-Brown Colleges in Indianapolis and Milwaukee, the Sanford-Brown Institute in Landover, Md., and the online campus of the International Academy of Design and Technology.

All four colleges had job-placement rates for graduates at or below 40 percent for the period from July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2011, according to the company.

An additional 24 colleges will be "subjected to additional oversight" on their job-placement rates, the company said.