Imperial Valley, Other Southern California Colleges Given Accreditation Warning
in Los Angeles, Orange and Imperial Counties were given the least severe sanction, a warning, by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges earlier this month. The schools have until March 2014 to address the shortcomings visiting reviewers found. Those included things like management structure fixes and assuring colleges have enough staff to properly serve students.
Balancing the campus budget was one of the recommendations leaders at Imperial Valley College were expecting, according to Kathy Berry, the school’s vice president for academic services. She said the campus had few options for coping with years of state funding cuts.
“In a community that’s fairly rural, where we have a very large percent of our population that is unemployed," she said. "We don’t have a lot of additional extra money that we can tap into donors or corporation.”
Berry said reduced funding forced the campus to cuts classes, which created a downward financial spiral. The college brought in a financial management consultant before the accreditation review began. The school cut some administrative positions and is building reserves to ensure financial stability.
The accrediting commission also recommended that the campus align its education, operation and strategic plans and develop effective methods of measuring student outcomes.
Berry said leaders were expecting the accreditation warning. The college remains accredited while it is under warning status, which means its students are still eligible for federal financial aid, and credits earned at the school can still be transferred to four-year institutions.
The campus was also commended by reviewers for: developing partnerships that further the campus mission; a clear commitment to educational excellence and access for students; sustainable construction; and bringing in the financial management consultant before the review began.