Argosy's accreditation in jeopardy — unpaid payroll for its Am Samoa branch is over $7K
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Of the $1.6 million in unpaid payroll for Argosy University campuses, more than $7,000 is for the institution’s American Samoa branch, while an accreditation commission is preparing to fully withdraw Argosy’s accreditation, according to latest filings at the federal court in Cleveland, Ohio, which is overseeing a complaint against the school’s owner, Dream Center Education Holdings.
DCEH has provided an online link for local students who are now left in limbo, after Argosy closed Mar. 8. Three local students have told Samoa News that they have no one to turn to for help, since the school’s closure.
Responding to Samoa News inquiries, DCEH provided a link for students to the Argosy University Closed School Information page, where they can find contacts for assistance.
Local students have also voiced with Samoa News concerns over the possible loss of Argosy’s accreditation, which was placed in January this year on a Show Cause order by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
The concern is that a full withdrawal of accreditation puts in jeopardy their credit transfers to other accredited institutions.
A Mar. 20th letter from WSCUC president Jamienne S. Studley shows a deadline to withdraw the accreditation. The letter is addressed to US District Court Judge Dan Aaron Polster at the federal court in Cleveland, Ohio.
Studley reminded the court that it was on Jan. 19th that WSCUC placed Argosy on Show Cause to explain why its accreditation should not be withdrawn. On Feb. 26, WSCUC requested plans for student transition in the event of closure and information to determine whether Argosy’s accreditation could continue.
Following the full closure of the schools on Mar. 14th, “without plans by the [court-appointed] Receiver for transfer of programs or students to other institutions, WSCUC acted to withdraw accreditation from Argosy,” Studley wrote.
“In the interest of promoting students’ interest in completing their programs, WSCUC provided that Argosy’s accreditation will continue to May 12, 2019 for the exclusive purposes of (1) issuing degrees to students in their final term, provided those students have been certified — by faculty employed by Argosy as of March 8, 2019 — as having completed their degree requirements; and (2) providing students with access to academic transcripts and services to facilitate transfer and articulation of programs and credits to other institutions,” Studley explained.
He offered suggestions from the WSCUC. One of them is for the court to direct the Receiver to keep the information line for students — 855.758.5660 — open as long as students are continuing to call for information about transfer, transcripts, financial status, loan discharges, and other necessary information.
“It would be very helpful to have counts from Argosy of the number of students and their fields who are awaiting academic placements, and those who have transferred, are seeking closed school discharges, will graduate this term, and so on,” Studley points out.
“As we have advised the Receiver many times, we would welcome the opportunity to assist you in any way to help students maintain their academic pursuits and reduce further uncertainty, distress, and loss,” he wrote to Judge Polster, who yesterday directed the Receiver, Mark E. Dottore, to respond to WSCUC by Apr. 2nd and inform the court.
Meanwhile, WSCUC encourages Argosy students to check its website (www.wscuc.org) for updates on Argosy, and helpful information, such as links to the US Department of Education for financial aid students, and an updated list of colleges and universities, which are WSCUC-accredited and will welcome inquiries from Argosy students.
FEDERAL COURT NEEDS TO APPROVE PAYING UNPAID PAYROLL
Dottore submitted Monday this week, the payroll status for Argosy, saying that due to the “sudden loss” of US Department of Education Title IV funding for Argosy, the Receiver was unable to make payroll for Argosy for the two-week period ending Mar. 1, 2019 and scheduled to be paid Mar. 8, 2019.
Total unpaid payroll for Argosy is just over $1.5 million, according to the Receiver, who submitted a separate report breaking down unpaid payroll for each campus. The American Samoa branch has unpaid payroll totaling $7,353.62 — which includes $2,501.01 for “Admin” and $4,084.62 for “Faculty”.
The Receiver has identified various sources of funding for the payrolls and among them are Argosy bank accounts, which have since moved to the Receivership accounts. Total amount is over $1.18 million, and the Receiver is trying to determine if he can apply the funds to the unpaid payroll balances.
Receiver is also holding $1.5 million upon the court’s order, until it is determined whether it will be held in trust or be paid to students.
The Receiver proposed the priority of paying unpaid payroll, but the move requires court approval.
“Receiver supports all efforts to help the students affected by the closing of Argosy University graduate or transfer to new institutions with as many of their course credits intact as possible,” said court documents, which states that the Receiver will work with all stakeholders “to implement any program that assists Argosy’s vulnerable students.”