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College of Sequoias at risk of losing accreditation


THE FRESNO BEE.APRIL 12, 2013.  College of the Sequoias is in danger of losing its accreditation and will be forced to close next year if it doesn't improve, the college said Thursday in a startling announcement.

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges told COS in a letter Thursday that it had failed to improve in several areas since its last accreditation in 2006.

COS has until October 2013 to write a report showing why it should continue to be accredited. If it fails to improve in six areas, it would lose its accreditation next year and have to close by May 2014.

President Stan Carrizosa vowed at a public forum on campus Thursday to right the wrongs.

"This is the most serious sanction we could receive and will require the entire college and community working together to respond quickly, decisively and clearly to save our college," Carrizosa wrote in a statement sent out after the forum.

He said he was setting up a task force of administrators, faculty and students, and will take other steps.

The college "is disappointed in the accreditation results and is taking the matter very seriously," a statement said.

In October, the commission sent an accreditation team to the college, which has centers in Hanford and Tulare.

In a five-page letter received Thursday by the college administration, the commission said the team found that COS "was in substantial noncompliance" and failed to meet accreditation standards in several areas despite being warned to improve.

Those areas include establishing and publishing what students must learn for all programs.

For now, the current accreditation is still good and students can still get financial aid, said COS spokesman Kevin McCusker.

But if accreditation were lost, the federal government would not grant financial aid, he said.

Accreditation problems like those at College of the Sequoias are unusual but not unknown.

The commission took the same action last year for College of the Redwoods and Cuesta College, McCusker said.