On May 16, Iowa attorney general Tom Miller held a press conference to announce that his office had entered into an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance with Bridgepoint Education and one of its educational institutions, Ashford University. Bridgepoint Education and Ashford University expressly deny wrongdoing or liability of any kind, and agreed to enter into the Assurance solely for the purpose of settlement and to resolve all issues raised regarding the Attorney General’s inquiry. During the press conference, Ashford graduate Patrick Kean offered his thoughts about his experiences as an Ashford student. There are a few points about Kean’s comments that require clarification.
Kean stated several times that he was never informed that he would not be licensed to teach in the state of Iowa upon completion of his degree. However, the application Kean completed, acknowledged, and signed before enrolling in Ashford’s BA in Early Childhood Education program clearly explains that the degree will not result in certification or licensure. The application states:
“Successful completion and graduation from the Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education is not intended to lead to certification or licensure in any state. It is the student’s responsibility to determine any individual state’s certification or licensure requirements. Ashford University does not represent that this program meets certification or licensure requirements in any state.”
Furthermore, Kean indicated that he did not discover he would not be licensed until he was in his final class at Ashford. Kean’s coursework, however, indicates otherwise. In an assignment Kean submitted on Feb. 28, 2012 – six months before he graduated from Ashford on Sept. 5, 2012 – Kean wrote that he planned to pursue a master’s degree at Western Governors University because his “Ashford University degree will not lead to teaching in most states.”
Kean also said that, upon graduation, he learned that he could not transfer any of his credits from Ashford to any other institutions. At the time that Kean enrolled at Ashford, the University did have an articulation agreement with Rio Salado College, meaning Kean would have been able to apply some of his Ashford credits toward a post-baccalaureate program. Due to changes in state authorization that reduced the number of states in which the Rio Salado online teacher preparation program would be accepted, Ashford University voluntarily discontinued its participation in the program in the best interest of its students. Kean was notified of this development on July 27, 2011, after he had only taken one course with Ashford. At that point, Kean could have elected to leave the University and pursue his degree elsewhere, but he did not.
In addition, Kean stated that Ashford’s own ground campus would not accept the credits he earned from his online courses at Ashford University. In fact, Ashford’s campus would have accepted his credits.
There is an additional discrepancy regarding Kean’s past education. In the press conference, Kean noted that when he enrolled at Ashford he “already had a bachelor’s degree and getting an additional one didn’t do me any good.” Ashford’s records and the application Kean submitted at the time of enrollment show he did not have a previous bachelor’s degree. Kean had earned an associate’s degree prior to enrolling at Ashford.
Kean graduated summa cum laude from Ashford with a bachelor’s degree. Kean’s degree helped him to attain admission at another university where he could pursue a graduate degree. Ashford is proud of all of its undergraduate students who have used their bachelor’s degrees to gain admission into graduate programs to a number of high quality universities including the University of Southern California, Arizona State University, University of Washington, University of Iowa, University of Kansas, and Western Governors University, where Patrick Kean currently attends graduate school.
Ashford wishes Kean continued success in his future educational endeavors. However, Bridgepoint Education and Ashford University will continue to “set the record straight” with regards to the integrity and quality of Ashford University and its thriving student body.
About Bridgepoint Education
Bridgepoint Education, Inc. (NYSE:BPI) harnesses the latest technology to reimagine the modern student experience. Bridgepoint’s technologies, including Thuze® and Waypoint Outcomes, enhance the way people learn in the digital age. Bridgepoint owns three academic institutions – Ashford University, University of the Rockies, and Denver Learning Institute. Together, these programs, technologies, and resources represent a unique model for advancing education in the 21st century. Bridgepoint stands for greater access, social learning, and exposure to leading minds. For more information, visit http:/www.bridgepointeducation.com or call Shari Winet, Vice President of Public Relations, at 858.668.2580.
About Ashford University
Achievement belongs to all of us at Ashford University. By offering a traditional college campus as well as online degree programs, Ashford meets the diverse needs of individuals pursuing integrity in their lives and in their communities. Students may earn an associates, bachelor’s, or master’s degree online, while campus students in Clinton, Iowa may earn a bachelor’s degree. Whether on campus or online, Ashford students enjoy the same supportive community. For more information, please visit http://www.ashford.edu or call Shari Winet, Vice President of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.