By Bre Payton | Watchdog.org, Virginia Bureau
ALEXANDRIA —The University of Northern Virginia should soon receive a cease and desist letter forcing the campus to close immediately, leaving students unsure if their credits are transferable.
The State Council for Higher Education in Virginia revoked the university’s license to operate Tuesday based on the school’s inability to regain accreditation.
The school is now being forced to refund students tuition the school has already collected for the fall semester by tapping into a $915,380 deposit the council required of the school, said Sylvia Rosa-Casanova, SCHEV’s director for private and out-of-state postsecondary education.
“Until we know the number of students and the type of students attending we don’t know what happens step by step,” Rosa-Casanova said.
The school is also required to store student records and provide transcripts for those seeking to transfer. The impact on students is unknown at this point, Rosa-Casanova said.
“Because it’s unaccredited we don’t know that any institution would accept these students,” she said.
The university lost its accreditation with the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools in 2008 after the council audited the school in 2007 and found three items of noncompliance.
Shortly after the audit, a legal battle over who owned the school ensued. Daniel Ho, one of the individuals claiming ownership, moved the location of the campus and sued the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program for removing him as Principal Designated School Official of the UNVA.
The university requested it be allowed to operate while attempting to regain accreditation by December 2010. When this goal wasn’t met, the council audited the school again and found several deficiencies.
ICE agents raided the university in 2011 and seized records for an investigation regarding foreign students studying in the U.S. on an F1 visa. ICE found that the school’s records were not sufficient.
After another audit and fact-finding conference, the council notified the university that it would revoke its license to operate. The university then entered into a consent agreement based on its ability to gain candidacy by an accredited board by June 1, 2013, and removed Ho’s financial interest in the school.
After the school failed to attain candidacy for accreditation by that deadline, the council revoked the school of its license to operate at its July meeting.
Bre Payton is an intern for the Virginia Bureau of Watchdog.org. Contact her at [email protected]