Career Education Schools at Risk of Losing Accreditation

Shares of Career Education Corp. (NASDAQ:CECO) tumbled after the company said it has been asked to prove why 10 of its colleges should not lose their accreditation.

The post-secondary education provider, which runs institutions across the globe including the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and Sandford Brown Institutes in Pittsburgh, said it has been asked by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges [ACCSC] to validate the accreditation of some of its career-education schools. The move is tied to the ACCSC’s inquiries regarding student placement practices.

Nine of the 10 institutions were included in a similar “show cause” order initiated by another accrediting agency – the Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges and Schools – which was dropped last month after a review of the company’s actions and reforms concerning student placement, Career Education said.

The 10 schools targeted include Sanford Brown Institutes in Pittsburgh, Pa.; Brown College campuses in Mendota Heights and Brooklyn Center, Minn.; Le Cordon Bleu institutions in Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, Scottsdale, Ariz., Miramar, Fla., and Cambridge, Mass.; and California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.

In agreement with ACCSC’s accrediting standards, Career Education must submit employment placement data, including an audit of this data by an independent third party, no later than September 7 of this year, according to the company’s announcement.

Career Education said it already addressed issues discovered last year with its administrative practices regarding student placement rates, hiring more than 75 additional Career Service staff, setting guidelines for what counts as student placement and investigating and reviewing its placement practices, the company said.

CEO Steven Lesnik remains confident in the company and expects a resolution with the ACCSC.

“We look forward to working with ACCSC to convey our actions and commitment and to resolving this matter satisfactorily,” he said in a statement.