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American Indian College, which describes itself as the nation's only private college for Native American students, will teach out its 91 students and close its doors after having its accreditation withdrawn by the Higher Learning Commission, the Phoenix institution's president said Monday.
The commission, which accredits institutions in 19 mostly Midwestern states, determined that the tiny onetime Bible college had addressed some of the concerns that resulted in its being placed on probation by the commission in October 2013. But the accrediting group cited continuing concerns about the college's financial situation, including long-term debt of $2.9 million and "insufficient overall revenue generation and fundamental financial weakness in the college’s finances." HLC ordered American Indian officials to develop a plan by next week to teach out its remaining students.
The college's current president, David Moore, led the institution from 1975 to 1994 and returned in June 2013 to try to get it back on track. He said he was "surprised and disappointed" that the commission voted to withdraw accreditation, especially because an "institutional action committee" established by the accreditor had recommended that the college continue on probation rather than lose its accreditation. The college has not missed any payments on its debt since Moore returned, he said, enrollment has climbed and the college's lender is "very happy" because the institution's campus and assets were recently valued at $9 million.
But Moore said the institution would not appeal the HLC or sue to try to have it reversed. The college will submit a plan today to have another institution (which he declined to identify) help its current students finish their educations, Moore said. "They've made their decision, and we will move forward."
HLC also placed two other institutions on probation: Wentworth Military Academy and College, in Missouri, and Cankdeska Cikana Community College, in North Dakota.