Accreditation Restored to U. of South Florida Program

June 4, 2010

The Commission on English Language Program Accreditation has restored the accreditation of the English Language Institute at the University of South Florida. The accreditation had been revoked because the accreditor said that the institution's relationship with INTO University Partnerships, a British company that helps colleges recruit international students and manage language programs for them, constituted a change in institutional control that required a full review and approval by the accreditor. The university appealed the revocation of accreditation, saying that its relationship with INTO did not involve any change in control, noting that the university continued to control admissions and instruction. Theresa O’Donnell, the commission’s executive director, said in an interview that the association still believed it had been correct to yank recognition. But she said that when the university appealed, the association decided "to compromise," and to restore recognition, conditioned on the university now showing that there was no meaningful change in control of the program, and that it still met all standards (which the university says is the case). O'Donnell acknowledged that the accreditor acted after receiving a letter from the university's lawyer. She said that the letter did not threaten to sue, but was "not a collegial letter." A lawyer for the university said that the institution and the accreditor were "in constructive dialogue."

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