More on an Embattled, Turkish-Owned University for F-1 Visa Holders

By David North on March 22, 2019

While not a major player in the foreign student business (it has a student body of 167), the relationship between Washington's BAU University and its on-and-off accreditor, the just-barely-surviving Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), offers entertainment at the slap-stick level — a conflict between two angry, prideful, and conflicted minnows.

BAU is the Washington outpost of a prosperous Turkish, for-profit educational system; it has close ties to the Erdogan regime, but when it comes to filing financial reports (with American institutions, at least) it is slow and, according to ACICS, misleading. It has nice quarters a few blocks from the White House

ACICS is the agency that routinely "cain't say no" when it comes to accrediting marginal institutions, but it has its pride and appears to be simultaneously irritated with BAU and unwilling to kill it.

When we last reported, BAU 's accreditation had been revoked by ACICS, and that decision was not appealable.

But the ever-creative ACICS decided that while their decision could not be appealed, it was subject to a "rescission of revocation" by its board, a double negative. In a letter dated February 27, ACICS informed BAU that it could have its accreditation back if it satisfied several show-cause requirements, but it first told why ACICS had revoked the accreditation originally:

So, if the passing grade is 60, and you score only nine, one might say, ever so gently, that your performance is "materially below" the standard. And if your institution provides financial information that is clearly in error, someone may notice.

I am not quite sure what a "campus-level placement rate" is, but it relates to students, the big majority presumably on F-1 visas, getting jobs in the fields for which they were trained.

ACICS had other gripes with BAU as well. Apparently BAU had not bothered to present its arguments, in person, at one or more ACICS sessions, so this was ordered in the letter: "The institution must respond to the [ACICS] directives in person." (Emphasis in the original.)

Further, BAU had the audacity to change the meaning of its initials (to Bay Atlantic University) without seeking ACICS permission, something else, ACICS said, it must correct. For more on this name change see our earlier posting cited above.

Will BAU and ACICS finally come to a truce of some kind? Will the Turkish press say anything about the multiple, self-created troubles of this pro-Erdogan entity? Will the trade papers for American higher education notice this battle of academic midgets? Stay tuned.