Senators respond to pleas of local Argosy students left in limbo
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A local student who is set to graduate this year from the American Samoa branch of Argosy University Hawaii has been left in limbo, with nowhere to get any information or details after Argosy Hawaii was shut down last Friday and the local branch had their lease terminated — effective Mar. 30th — at the Ottoville Professional Building.
“I don’t know where to turn. I’ve already paid my tuition and working on finishing up for graduation,” the female student told Samoa News yesterday, adding that she has no one to contact to assist her in finding out what she’s supposed to do or where to get help in moving her education forward.
While, a male student, an ASG employee, said he is hoping to get some answers on what to do next, because he can’t find anyone at the local Argosy branch to talk to. The students said the information they are getting is through the news media.
Samoa News is aware of two other ASG employees, who are very concerned with their Master’s Degree program studies.
The sudden closure of Argosy that has left local students without any recourse is an issue raised by Sen. Magalei Logovi’i during yesterday’s Senate session. He said he has student-constituents who have contacted him for help.
According to the Tualauta senator, those who contacted him say they have paid their tuitions through loans but now the university is closed. “What’s going to happen to the students?” he asked, and requested a possible committee hearing to find out how Argosy is going to help these students.
Senate President Gaoteote Tofau Palaie called on the Senate Education Committee, chaired by Sen. Fai’ivae Iuli Godinet, to work jointly with the Senate Rules Committee, chaired by Sen. Nuanuaolefeagaiga Saoluaga T. Nua, to look into the issue and a possible hearing.
If a hearing is scheduled, Nuanuaolefeagaiga suggests the inclusion of Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale as a witness, to find out from the government how to address the matter and help students.
Fai’ivae told his colleagues that he will first contact those involved with Argosy and report back to the Senate, before looking at setting up a committee hearing.
Responding to Samoa News inquiries, federal court-appointed Receiver, Mark E. Dottore confirmed over the weekend that “Argosy University, Hawaii has closed. We have worked day and night since the institution entered into receivership under Dream Center Education Holdings (DCEH) to find the best path forward for students.” (See Samoa News Mar. 11 edition for details).
The federal court in Cleveland, Ohio is overseeing a complaint filed early this year against DCEH, owner of Argosy and other institutions. Dottore had identified in court filings a possible buyer for Argosy Hawaii but there's been no new development.
In a three-page letter yesterday, Argosy Board of Trustee chairman, Joseph D. Harbaugh, informed US District Court Judge Dan Aaron Polster — who is overseeing the DCEH case — that the board members “continue to be deeply concerned about the plight of those 9,825 who were enrolled as of January 15, 2019.”
The greatest concern for the Trustees are the 1,063 Argosy masters and doctoral clinical psychology students in Hawaii, Atlanta, Tampa, Minneapolis and Phoenix. Harbaugh wrote and offered — among other things — suggestions to assist students, especially in the clinical studies. “I am standing by to do whatever I can to support the Argosy students in their efforts to complete their degrees.”
As Argosy continues to face mounting problems, the university remains accredited under “show cause” by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), which has posted on its website (www.wscuc.org) updates on Argosy, as well as information to help Argosy students.
WSCUC also provided a list of 23 colleges and universities, which are WSCUC-accredited institutions that will welcome inquiries from Argosy students. Among them are Chaminade University of Honolulu, and Hawaii Pacific University.