Cuesta College closure unlikely

February 6, 2012


UPDATE: Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo is under an order by its accreditation commission to produce an exit plan for closure of the college by Oct. 15.

Last week, the Commission for Community and Junior Colleges sent Cuesta College an order to show cause for remaining accredited noting that the college is in substantial noncompliance with its eligibility requirements. Specifically in the areas of  financial management and stability, assessment plans and technological infrastructure. As part of the order, the college administration is required to develop an exit plan for closure that includes a financial accounting.

Generally, colleges that lose accreditation are not closed, but instead operate under another college’s accreditation.

In 2005, Compton College lost its accreditation as the result of alleged financial mismanagement by its administration. The campus, however, was not shut down, and was temporarily absorbed into the El Camino College. Currently, El Camino College’s president is working with Compton College administrators to bring Compton back to independent accreditation.

It is likely, if Cuesta College loses its accreditation, it would temporally operate as a satellite campus under the wing of Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria.


Cuesta College administrators said today the institution faces the threat of finding itself without accreditation.

The Accreditation Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), located in Novato, issued an order to show cause why Cuesta College’s accreditation should not be removed. On Feb. 3, the commission ordered the college to show evidence that they have eliminated areas of concern during the show cause time period in which the college remains accredited.

Located six miles north of San Luis Obispo, Cuesta provides approximately 10,000 students with vocational training and various Associate degree programs. If accreditation was revoked, course credits would no longer be transferable to other colleges and universities, and students would be unable to collect financial aid.

“I am extremely disappointed with the commission’s action,” said Dr. Gil Stork, Cuesta’s superintendent/president. “Their remaining recommendations do not reflect on the college’s outstanding faculty and management team and superb student services. Nor do they reflect on the genuine and significant progress that the college has achieved through collaborative efforts in satisfying commission concerns.

“We want to assure our students and their families that Cuesta College remains an accredited institution during this process,” he said. “And while we work to address the perceived remaining deficiencies, we want the public to know that the notification does not change the status of transferrable courses.”

Accreditation is an established process for evaluation and quality assurance for education used by the American higher education community, according to the ACCJC’s Website.

Forewarned in 2002 that issues regarding program reviews and unit-planning processes could result in the loss of the college’s accreditation, Cuesta College officials admit they fell short in properly addressing the commission’s recommendations.

In Jan. 2008, the commission placed Cuesta on warning status. Six months later, the warning was removed.

Just six months later, in Jan. 2009, the commission again placed the college on warning status. The commission in January 2010 then took away the warning status and placed the college on probation, an improvement.

A year later, the commission took action to continue Cuesta’s probation status, while noting that the college had made progress and completely satisfied some of the organization’s recommendations. However, several others areas of concern had not been corrected.

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I have the same question, “who the hell do these people think they are?” Perhaps Cuesta has some challenges they need to deal with, but for many many years it has been a fantastic resource for the people of San Luis Obispo County. More importantly, this institution provides a future for many people who leave high school and are not yet ready to attend a four year college. It provides a path forward for many people and if this accreditation commission continues down this path, I think this community ought to declare all out war on their credibility.

“Closure of the college”??? Who the hell do these people think they are?

So we know Cuesta is a good as or better than many community colleges in the state. What we don’t know is why some vague “accreditation commission” out of Novato is demanding financial management plans (at a time like this???) and assessment plans (Hello? That’s really your priority right now?? Do you plan to provide funds to do this? Maybe you expect to take it away from educating students??)

What I’d really like to know is A) the cost of the accreditation commission,and B) the cost of meeting the “accreditation commissions” demands on the part of Cuesta during a time of very tight budgets when presumably all resources are devoted to serving students.

It’s not like we don’t already have a pretty good idea whether Cuesta is effective or not. Are it’s graduates accepted and respected elsewhere? Does it have a process in place to evaluate current faculty? Do its graduates score well on various tests (GRE, GWR, etc.)?

Same story different CA govinmint institution.

CA state, county, city, districts, entities within districts, departments within entities you name it. They are all basically bankrupt.

For two decades now, CA has been dysfunctional, spending 10% or more than it took in. We are now 35 billion in the red. We are now scheduled to run out of cash in March.

The answer has been staring us in the face for decades. Simple, across the board 10% cuts in every single government department. But we couldn’t do it. We even lied to ourselves talking about taking 10% cuts when what we were really talking about was a 10% decrease in the rate of government increase. Only in government do they try and call that a cut.

Now, the pain begins. The different parts of CA government are going to try and take each other down and accuse each other in this battle for survival. It’s going to be last man standing–er I mean, last government department standing wins.

We are where are. It is what it is. Deal with it.

Well, this aint good news.

What do our trustees have to say?