College Of Marshall Islands Accreditation Downgraded To ‘Warning’ Status

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WASC concerned about deficits, long-term financial plan

By Giff Johnson

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Marianas Variety, July 12, 2013) – Four years after having full accreditation, the College of the Marshall Islands has been placed on "warning" status by the U.S. Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

The warning, issued late last week, focuses mostly on college finances and the need for a long-term financial plan to end years of budget deficits. At a meeting last month, WASC rejected a Financial Review Special Report the college submitted and issued its warning, which requires the

college to respond to WASC concerns in a follow-up report that must be submitted by March 15 next year. A WASC team will visit CMI shortly after this report is submitted, said Barbara Beno, president of WASC, in a July 3 letter to CMI President Carl Hacker.

"We will do what we need to do to try and resolve these finance matters and we will continue to improve our level of financial transparency with the government and public," said Hacker on Wednesday.

"The follow-up report should provide evidence that College of the Marshall Islands has addressed the (three) recommendations, fully resolved the deficiencies, and now meets Eligibility Requirements, Accreditation Standards, and Commission policies," Beno said in her letter.

Key reasons for the new warning status, according to Beno’s letter:

Beno emphasized that accredited colleges are expected to meet requirements and standards at all times during the six-year cycle of accreditation. Under US Department of Education regulations, colleges are expected to fully resolve any deficiencies within two years from when they are identified. When the WASC team visits next March, it will "examine evidence in order to confirm that the college’s described changes and steps taken to achieve full compliance with Standards have been sustained," Beno said.

After several years of struggling through WASC-issued warnings and "show cause" statuses, CMI was successful in early 2009 in getting full accreditation restored.

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