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Public Disclosure Statement

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania

November 16, 2017

By the Middle States Commission on Higher Education

This statement has been developed for use in responding to public inquiries, consistent with the Commission’s policies on Communication in the Accreditation Process, Accreditation Actions, and Standardized Language for Commission Actions on Accreditation. It should be read in conjunction with the Statement of Accreditation Status for Cheyney University, a copy of which is attached. The policies listed above explain what information the Commission makes public regarding its member institutions and what information remains confidential, describe the various accreditation actions the Commission can take, and define the terms used in the Commission’s actions.

Cheyney University, a public, non-profit institution, is part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The University has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education since 1951. Cheyney University offers Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. A full listing of the institution’s additional locations and other instructional sites is noted in the Statement of Accreditation Status. A summary of the most recent Commission actions relative to the institution’s accreditation follows.

Current Accreditation Status

 

On November 16, 2017, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education acted to accept Cheyney University’s show cause report; approve the teach out plan; note the visit by the Commission’s representatives; and to note that the institution is now in compliance with Standard 2 (Planning, Resource Allocation and Institutional Renewal) and Standard 5 (Administration).  To continue the institution on show cause because of insufficient evidence that it is in compliance with Requirement of Affiliation 8 (Documented Financial Resources) and Standard 3 (Institutional Resources). To extend the period for demonstrating compliance by one year, for good cause, because the institution has demonstrated significant progress towards the resolution of its non-compliance issues, is making a good faith effort to remedy existing deficiencies, and a reasonable expectation exists that such deficiencies will be remedied within the period of the extension. The full text of the Commission’s action is provided below. The Commission’s Standards for Accreditation and Requirement of Affiliation are available online at https://www.msche.org/publications/RevisedStandardsFINAL.pdf (formerly http://www.msche.org/publications/CHX-2011-WEB.pdf).

 

Cheyney University remains accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education while on Show Cause.

A Show Cause action requires an institution to present its case to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education for continued accreditation by means of a show cause report and an on-site evaluation.

 

Summary of Recent Commission Actions

On November 16, 2017, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education acted as follows:

To accept the show cause report, approve the teach out plan, and note the visit by the Commission's representatives. To note that the institution is now in compliance with Standard 2 (Planning, Resource Allocation and Institutional Renewal) and Standard 5 (Administration). To continue the institution on show cause because of insufficient evidence that it is in compliance with Requirement of Affiliation 8 (Documented Financial Resources) and Standard 3 (Institutional Resources). To extend the period for demonstrating compliance by one year, for good cause, because the institution has demonstrated significant progress towards the resolution of its non-compliance issues, is making a good faith effort to remedy existing deficiencies, and a reasonable expectation exists that such deficiencies will be remedied within the period of the extension. To note that the institution remains accredited while on show cause. To request a show cause report and an updated teach out plan, both due September 1, 2018, providing evidence that the institution has achieved and can sustain ongoing compliance with Commission standards including, but not limited to: (1) documented financial resources, funding base, and plans for financial development adequate to support its educational purposes and programs and to assure long-term financial stability (Requirement of Affiliation 11 (formerly 8)); (2) implementation of the budget reductions agreed to as part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE)-authorized debt-forgiveness plan; (3) written confirmation from PASSHE that this is the case; and (4) documented steps taken to resolve the issues associated with the $29.6 million potential liability to the U.S. Department of Education (Standard VI (formerly Standard 3)). To further request that the report include (1) evidence of sufficient learning opportunities and resources to support programs of study and students' academic progress (Standard III) and (2) the following data for the three most recent years available: Title IV cohort default rates and the institution's status with regard to Heightened Cash Monitoring (HCM) with USDE. To direct a prompt liaison guidance visit to discuss Commission expectations. A small team visit will follow submission of the show cause report. To remind the institution of its obligation to inform the Commission about any and all significant developments relevant to this action.

 

On June 22, 2017, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education acted as follows:

To accept the monitoring report and to note the visit by the Commission’s representatives.  To require the institution to show cause, by September 1, 2017, as to why its accreditation should not be withdrawn. To note that the institution remains accredited while on show cause. To direct a prompt liaison guidance visit to discuss Commission expectations. The institution is required to present its case for continued accreditation by means of a show cause report documenting evidence that the institution has achieved and can sustain ongoing compliance with Requirement of Affiliation 8 (Documented Financial Resources), Standard 2 (Planning, Resource Allocation, and Institutional Renewal), Standard 3 (Institutional Resources), and Standard 5 (Administration).  An on-site evaluation will follow submission of the report. The purpose of the on-site evaluation is to verify the information provided in the institution’s show cause report and the institution’s ongoing and sustainable compliance with the Commission’s accreditation standards. To request that the show cause report document evidence that the institution has achieved and can sustain ongoing compliance with Commission standards including, but not limited to documented evidence the institution has: (1) documented financial resources, funding base, and plans for financial development adequate to support its educational purposes and programs and to assure long-term financial stability (Requirement of Affiliation 8); (2) developed, implemented, and widely communicated a resource allocation strategy that is clearly aligned with the institution’s strategic priorities and includes a clear description of resource allocation strategies and  a means of assessing the effectiveness of these  strategies; (3) developed plans to initiate a strategic planning process that will reflect the institution’s mission and goals as they may be redefined by the work of existing task forces (Standard 2); (4) developed and implemented a financial plan that provides for annual and multi-year budget projections, utilizes planning and assessment documents, and addresses both near- and longer-term resource acquisition and debt reduction (Standard 3); (5) initiated a process to hire permanent campus leadership to address the significant issues they face and to ensure progress and stability of the campus (Standard 5). To further request that the show cause report include the following data for the three most recent years available:  Title IV cohort default rates; USDE Financial Responsibility Composite Scores; and the institution's status with regard to Heightened Cash Monitoring with USDE.  To also request that the institution complete and submit for approval, by September 1, 2017, a written teach-out plan describing how, if the Commission withdraws accreditation, students will be accommodated.  In accordance with Commission policy and federal regulations, the teach-out plan must provide for the equitable treatment of students to complete their education, and include any teach-out agreements that the institution has entered into or intends to enter into with another institution.  Approvals from any licensing, regulatory, or other legal entities, as may be necessary, must also be provided to the Commission.

 

On November 17, 2016, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education acted as follows:

To accept the monitoring report and to note the visit by the Commission's representatives. To note the institution’s progress in addressing concerns relative to Standard 4 (Leadership and Governance) and Standard 7 (Institutional Assessment).  To continue the institution on probation due to insufficient evidence that it is in compliance with Standard 2 (Planning, Resource Allocation and Institutional Renewal), Standard 3 (Institutional Resources), Standard 5 (Administration), and Requirement of Affiliation 8 (The institution has documented financial resources, funding base, and plans for financial development adequate to support its educational purposes and programs and to assure financial stability).  To note that the institution remains accredited while on probation.  To request a monitoring report due March 1, 2017, documenting evidence that the institution has (1) achieved and can sustain compliance with Standards 2 and 3, and Requirement of Affiliation 8 that includes, but is not limited to, evidence of the development and implementation of an inclusive budget process that has been fully communicated to all of the appropriate constituent groups; revised multi-year budgets, including evidence-supported enrollment assumptions for each year, and comprehensive fundraising and debt repayment plans; and (2) developed and implemented a comprehensive administrative structure and organizational chart that includes all key positions, clearly defines all reporting relationships and decision making authority granted to each position identified (Standard 5). A small team visit will follow submission of the monitoring report.  To direct a prompt liaison guidance visit to discuss Commission expectations. To remind the institution, in compliance with Federal regulations, of its responsibility to resolve all of its accreditation issues within two calendar years of the date when the probation was first issued by the Commission.

 

On March 3, 2016, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education acted as follows:

To note the visit by the Commission's representative. To remind the institution of the Commission's November 19, 2015 action placing the institution on probation because of insufficient evidence that the institution is in compliance with Standard 3 (Institutional Resources). To note that the institution remains accredited while on probation. To remind the institution of the monitoring report due September 1, 2016. The due date for the next evaluation visit will be established when accreditation is reaffirmed.

 

On November 19, 2015, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education acted as follows:

To accept the progress report. To place the institution on probation because of insufficient evidence that the institution is currently in compliance with Standard 3 (Institutional Resources) and to request a monitoring report due September 1, 2016  documenting (1) the implementation of a technology plan; (2) the development and implementation of a long-term financial plan; (3) steps taken to strengthen the institution’s finances; (4) updated cash and financial projections for the next five years.  To further request that the monitoring report document steps taken to assure continuity and stability of institutional leadership (Standard 4); and the continued documentation and implementation of steps taken to use assessment results to improve programs and services (Standard 7).  A visit will follow submission of the monitoring report. To direct a prompt liaison guidance visit to discuss Commission expectations. To note that the institution remains accredited while on probation. To note that the date of the next evaluation visit will be established when accreditation is reaffirmed. 

 

On November 20, 2014, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education acted as follows:

To reaffirm accreditation. To commend the institution for the quality of the self-study process and report. To request a progress report due October 1, 2015 documenting (1) the development and implementation of clearly stated and widely communicated enrollment targets that are used for planning and resource allocation (Standard 2); (2) the development and implementation of a comprehensive facilities master plan and multi-year technology plan (Standard 3); steps taken to further implement an organized and sustainable assessment process to evaluate the extent to which all units achieve stated goals including evidence that assessment information is used to improve programs, services, and processes (Standard 7); and (4) further development, implementation, and documentation of an organized and sustained assessment process to evaluate and improve learning goals for distance learning courses including evidence that student learning assessment information is used to improve teaching and learning (Standard 14). The Periodic Review Report is due June 1, 2019.

Current Status and Expected Activities   

 

Cheyney University remains accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education while on Show Cause.   

Following receipt of the institution’s show cause report on September 1, 2018, the Commission will conduct a small team visit to assess the institution’s compliance with the Commission’s standards. Following the on-site visit, a report by the visiting team will be completed. The institution’s show cause report, the team report and the institutional response to the evaluation team report will be considered by the Committee on Follow-Up Activities/Candidate Institutions, and then by the Commission. In addition to the show cause report, the institution must submit for approval by September 1, 2018, a written updated teach-out plan describing how, if the Commission withdraws accreditation, any students requiring access to federal Title IV funding will be accommodated. In accordance with Commission policy and federal regulations, the teach-out plan must provide for the equitable treatment of students to complete their education, and include any teach-out agreements that the institution has entered into or intends to enter into with another institution. Approvals from any licensing, regulatory, or other legal entities as may be necessary must also be provided to the Commission.

Following review by the Committee on Follow-Up Activities/Candidate Institutions, the Commission will take action, in accordance with the Commission’s policy, Accreditation Actions (available at http://www.msche.org/documents/P2.3-AccreditationActions.pdf). If, based on the report, evaluation team report, and institutional response, as well as recommendations from the Committee on Follow-Up Activities/Candidate Institutions, the Commission determines that Cheyney University has made appropriate progress in addressing the cited concerns, the Commission may act to remove the show cause and reaffirm accreditation. If the Commission determines that progress sufficient to demonstrate compliance with its accreditation standards has not been made, the Commission may take further action as allowed under the Accreditation Actions policy. 

 

For More Information

The following resources provide additional information that may be helpful in understanding the Commission’s actions and Cheyney University’s accreditation status:

Statement of Accreditation Status for Cheyney University: (http://www.msche.org/Documents/SAS/125/Statement%20of%20Accreditation%20Status.htm ) provides factual information about Cheyney University and the full text of the Commission’s recent actions regarding the institution.

Media Backgrounder (http://www.msche.org/documents/MediaBackgrounder2017.pdf ) answers questions about accreditation such as “What is accreditation?” and “What is the Middle States Commission on Higher Education?”