Bay State College, the for-profit college in Boston owned by Chinese investors, will lose its accreditation after former students complained that the school defrauded them.
The New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE), announced its decision to withdraw Bay State’s accreditation in a statement posted on its website Monday.
Bay State’s “operating deficit… was $500,000 more than projected,” NECHE’s president Lawrence Schall wrote, citing the college’s shaky finances and enrollment declines. The federal government has also suspended veterans benefits to any new Bay State students, further concerning the commission.
The loss of accreditation prevents the college from receiving federal funds and issuing degrees and goes into effect on Aug. 31, 2023. Bay State College officials said they plan to appeal the decision. The college notified its 270 remaining students on Monday of the problems. Ina letter to students, interim president Jeff Mason expressed surprise at the NECHE’s actions.
“This is not the outcome we expected and, frankly, we are heartbroken,” Mason wrote.
“Our thoughts are first for you, our students, and your well-being,” the letter said. “Now, it is time to think about the future, as the College best serves you through this process.”
Mason declined to comment to GBH News. The college, which is owned by the Chinese company Ambow, has hired the public relations firm Rasky Partners Inc. A spokesperson declined to elaborate on the reasons for Bay State’s appeal.
GBH News reported mounting problems at the college, including students who said they were overcharged or facedsudden class cancelations.
Bay State offers two and four-year degrees at its two campuses in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood; 17% of its students graduate within four years, according to the college’s website.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Education Departmentplaced Bay State onheightened cash monitoring, requiring it to submit student requests for financial aid to the department before it could draw down those federal taxpayer funds.
“I’m glad they’re holding the college accountable," Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted Monday night.
Last week, Warren and Rep. Ayanna Pressley urged the commission to scrutinize Bay State. Inan open letter addressed to Schall, they also criticized the accreditors, saying the commission rubber stamped decisions in the past and allowed “fraudulent or ineffective colleges to maintain their accreditation, hurting students and often leaving them with thousands of dollars in debt for worthless degrees.”
Schall, the president of the commission, disagreed with that assessment. “We carefully monitor our institutions for compliance,” he said in an interview Tuesday. “Our commission has done an excellent job of that in the past.”
The body is made up of 27 commissioners who are nominated by an internal committee. They meet four times each year and they voted to rescind Bay State’s accreditation last Thursday during a special meeting before making the decision public yesterday.