By Sara Guernsey/Staff Writer/@SaraGuernsey1
During the Associated Student Body Cabinet meeting Friday, Feb. 19, Student Trustee Alejandro Lomeli alerted fellow officers to the problem with the current system of accreditation and how that can affect the future of LBCC and the system of California Community Colleges as a whole.
LBCC is one of the 113 California Community Colleges that receives its accreditation from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. According to the U.S. Department of Education, an institution must be accredited to be eligible to receive federal and state financial aid. Currently, the only way for a California Community College to get its accreditation is through the commission.
In 2013, the commission was prosecuted in federal court for noncompliance with 15 federal regulations, according to the Department of Education. The misdeeds came to light after the commission attempted to revoke the accreditation of the City College of San Francisco, the largest Community College in the U.S.
The National Advisory Commission for Institutional Quality and Integrity and the Department of Education investigated the commission in response to complaints and lawsuits from the California Federation of Teachers, state officials, institutions and other parties, saying the commission lacked transparency, consistency and integrity.
The commission was given one year to resolve the issues, which was later extended to two years, as reported by Academe Blog. The commission appealed, but lost the appeal. The agency was reviewed in December 2015 and was still found noncompliant with some regulations.
The national advisory commission voted for an extra six months for the agency to demonstrate full compliance and Acting Secretary of Education John King gave the agency a one-year extension of recognition by the Department of Education, by which time it must meet all standards, according to the San Francisco Examiner.
Regardless of the extension, however, Brice Harris, chancellor of the California Community Colleges, and a broad task force are looking to resolve the complicated, long-term battle by finding a new system of accreditation for the California Community Colleges.
According to the LBCC website, the commission reaffirmed the college’s accreditation, but is requiring LBCC to submit a follow-up report by March 15. Reaffirmation with a follow-up report is required when minor deficiencies lead to noncompliance. If left uncorrected, they may threaten the institution’s quality and effectiveness, and lead to increased noncompliance, officials said.
Lomeli, 21, an administration of justice major, reassured the Cabinet by saying that hopefully, within the next few months, LBCC and the other Community Colleges will have a new accreditor. However, he warned that if the state does not find a solution soon, “everything will be at a standstill. The colleges up for accreditation this year and next year will have no other means of getting accredited.” LBCC will not be up for review again until 2020.