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« Collegiality in Higher Education Employment Decisions… | Main | Welcome to HigherEducationLaw »

Is it a court's place to determine quality of education?

Here's an interesting case out of Baltimore. The Baltimore Sun has reported extensively on the loss of accreditation by Baltimore International College (BIC). Middle States, the accrediting agency for many mid-atlantic institutions, failed to renew BIC's accreditation earlier this year citing a myriad of issues with the school. BIC, which enrolls 130 students in its culinary program, announced earlier this summer that it would merge with Stratford University in an attempt to stay open. This merger is set to take place on January 1, 2012. The problem is that BIC's current Middle States accreditation is set to expire this week. When it does, BIC will lose access to Title IV financial aid funds, just in time for the new academic year. BIC has gone to federal court to stop the removal of its accreditation. Citing the harm it would cause to students, a federal district court granted an initial restraining order. Middle States has also denied BIC an extension and the right to appeal its decision. In the end, as the article linked below says, a judge might have to decide whether BIC offers a high enough quality education to its students to remain accredited. The potential extension would be by court order. This is a very interesting issue. Incidentally, the judge assigned to the case is not inexperienced in education law. Judge Garbis supervised the Special Education Consent Decree with the Baltimore City Public School for many years. This will be an interesting case to watch. Here's a link to the article.

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Update: Middle States and BIC reached an out of court agreement. In exchange for Middle States not pulling its accreditation, BIC agreed to make a good faith to follow Middle States guidelines while it merges with Stratford and report on its progress monthly. In addition, BIC will either graduate its current students or find new placements for them for the spring semester. BIC will not enroll any new students nor add classes to its fall schedule. This agreement comes after a the federal district court in Baltimore issued a TRO enjoining Middle States from pulling BIC's accreditation. The TRO was issued in part because Middle States failed to follow its own appeals process.

September 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJason Block

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