Report: NW Ohio online school closes amid scrutiny

Associated Press


A northwest Ohio university has announced plans to close its online associate’s degree division this fall.

Tiffin University informed students last week through Facebook and email it is discontinuing degree programs through Ivy Bridge College on Oct. 20, according to a report by The Blade.

The 5-year-old Ivy Bridge enrolled some 2,000 of the nonprofit university’s 6,900 students last year. It is run by Altius University, a limited liability company.

The newspaper reported university officials sought independent accreditation for Ivy Bridge, with an eye toward it being sold to private investors and run as a for-profit college.

President Paul Marion said the accreditation proposal was withdrawn for lack of support from a national accrediting association, the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Officials said a July 25 letter from the commission dictated that Ivy Bridge be shut down. The commission said in a statement to the newspaper that it had given the university the choice of resubmitting Ivy Bridge for accreditation or severing ties with Altius.

The article said Altius was the brainchild in 2007 of Tiffin’s then-vice president for enrollment Cam Cruickshank and a university software vendor named Paul Freedman. Freedman and his investors provided start-up funds for Ivy Bridge that Tiffin didn’t have.

“This leaves a big hole in our hearts and also probably [our] wallets,” Freedman said.

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