- ASA College, a troubled for-profit college based in New York, says it won’t close even though its accreditor he said he got the notification from the institution, which he plans to close on February 24, the last day of the semester.
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education, or MSCHE, announced last year that he will withdraw the accreditation of ASA College by March because the institution was unable to meet the agency’s standards. ASA College told the accreditor it planned to appeal the decision, but MSCHE dropped the appeal due to the school’s impending closure.
- An MSCHE spokesperson said ASA College notified the accreditor of the planned closure at the end of January. However, ASA College said in an emailed statement on Tuesday that it does not intend to close and plans to “go through the appeals process, which is within the college’s rights.”
ASA College told MSCHE that it has provided students with appropriate information, including through its website, according to the FAQ provided by the accreditor. However, MSCHE was unable to verify what information the college provided to students and asked it to “post appropriate public notices on the home page of its website.”
“After repeated reminders to ASA College, the website continues to reflect insufficient information for students,” the FAQ reads.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the ASA College website says it is not accepting new applications. However, Higher Ed Dive did not find an announcement on the site about the closure of the institution website listing its accreditations notes that MSCHE recently withdrew its accreditation effective March 1, and says the college is implementing a teaching plan accordingly.
The FAQ also says ASA College has notified staff of layoffs effective January 24. However, Cristhian Mancera Mejía, a lawyer working in the university’s legal studies department, said Tuesday that neither he nor other employees he knows have received such notices.
Mancera Mejía he also said that ASA College had not sent him any formal notice of the closure.
ASA College found itself in hot water with its staff. One of them, Ernest Andrade-Barteldes, filed a class action lawsuit against the college in January, accusing it of withholding and withholding wages.
The complaint alleges that the employees experienced salary delays during the last year and that they were not paid for the pay period ending in late December and early January, which left the employees unable to pay their bills.
Mancera Mejía, who is not part of the lawsuit, said he also did not receive a handful of payments. and that his last payment from ASA College came six weeks late. Officials have told staff they are seeking high-interest loans to cover staff salaries, while federal funding for the institution is limited, according to Mancera Mejía.
“We have colleagues who are literally either living off their savings or going through really hard times,” Mancera Mejía said.
He called out the U.S. Department of Education’s recent actions against ASA College, accusing the agency of contributing to financial problems that have ultimately affected faculty and staff who rely on the institution for their paychecks.
The Department of Education has restricted ASA College’s access to federal financial aid beginning in 2022 due to issues with its accreditation. The agency placed the institution on enhanced cash monitoring 2, a status that requires the college to provide federal financial aid from its own reserves before asking the federal agency for reimbursement.
This restriction could have a huge impact on colleges that depend on federal financial aid. That’s the case for ASA College, which relied on this source of funding for $33.6 million in 2020 — nearly two-thirds of the institution’s revenue that year.
“Most people are suffering, especially people who have survived only on this salary,” said Mancera Mejía. “I don’t think it’s been given that much attention — both by the media and by the oversight agencies.”
However, Department of Education restrictions were not ASA College’s only budgetary obstacle.
In October, ASA College agreed to pay nearly $113,000 in civil penalties New York’s Department of Consumer Protection for running misleading ads targeting immigrants and low-income people. The settlement was part of a long line of scandals at the institution, including allegations of sexual misconduct against the founder of ASA College, who resigned as president. in December 2021 the second time.