As administrators hoped and expected, City College of San Francisco has its accreditation reaffirmed for the full term of the next seven years as the school announced in a press release today. The decision was made in Sacramento by the 19-member Accreditation Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. After five years of uncertainty, the school's crisis is over.
As the Examiner retraces the timeline, inspections began at CCSF in 2012, and the institution learned in 2013 from the ACCJC that its accreditation would be revoked in 2014, shutting down the institution. Then a lawsuit from the City Attorney's office blocked that move, and the ACCJC provided two years for CCSF to get its house in order.
Over this period of turmoil, the school lost roughly a third of its full time students, and total reported enrollment has fallen from 90,000 students to 65,000 according to the Chronicle. The threat to City College was that, if it lost accreditation, it would loss access to public funding and students would be blocked from getting financial aid. Since the accreditation criss began in 2012, the Chronicle estimates that millions has been spent in taxpayer dollars and state subsidies to fight its closure.
As Inside Higher Ed points out, ironically, after the ACCJC attempted to revoke City College's accreditation, that accreditor received scrutiny of its own from California politicians and the US Department of Education. Last year, it was given one year to get itself in line with federal standards. Meanwhile, California's two-year college system that includes City College decided it would transition its 113 schools to a new accreditation agency.
Now, although City College advocates will presumably resume the fight for a tuition-free model for the school, which they felt was promised by the passage of Proposition W but was eventually denied when a budget deficit changed Mayor Lee's plans, the school and its proponents have something to celebrate. "San Francisco has a tremendous asset in City College, which provides quality teaching and learning for students who want to improve their lives and their community," California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley wrote in a statement. "Today’s achievement could not have been possible without the hard work of faculty, staff and administrators at City College."