SAN FRANCISCO — The agency that certifies two-year colleges in the western United States told City College of San Francisco on Wednesday that the school will lose its accreditation a year from now, a move that could lead to the closure of one of the nation's largest institutions of higher learning.
California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice Harris said the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges notified City College officials of its verdict in a letter. The commission said the public college, which enrolls 85,000 full- and part-time students on nine campuses and two centers, had failed to fix problems with financial management, instructional standards, library services and other areas after it was put on a probationary "show-cause" list last year.
School officials had been ordered to show improvement by mid-March or risk losing accreditation.
Accreditation is seal of approval education institutions receive so consumers and government officials know they are meeting certain performance standards. Not being accredited would make City College ineligible for federal and state funding and its students ineligible for public financial aid.
Although the revocation of City College's accreditation would not take effect until July 31, 2014, and the school can still seek a review and then an appeal of the action, the commission's determination came as a shock to state and local officials who had hoped the steps college leaders had taken to address the concerns would secure a reprieve.
"I am furious, and I think this decision is absolutely outrageous," Rafael Mandelman, a member of the college's elected Board of Trustees, said. "Every person and every part of this school have done backflips to address issues the ACCJC raised. At the end of all of this, to reach this result, is mind-boggling."
While acknowledging the development is serious, Harris, California's community colleges chief, sought to reassure students who are already enrolled or plan to attend the college in the fall are not at risk of losing credits or having nowhere to continue their educations.