‘A big concern’: After we couldn’t find students or faculty at college, agency scrambled to crack down – USA Today
The door was locked. The man had knocked, but no one in the South Dakota business park answered.
The visitor was looking for Reagan National University, accredited as a small, for-profit college operating in Sioux Falls.
But he couldn’t find anything other than an architecture firm in this mostly empty building, he later said in a memo to colleagues. The man from the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools looked up the university and dialed a number on its website.
“We are not expecting anyone from ACICS,” said Adam Yang, listed on the university’s website as its dean, who answered the call. Everyone had gotten sick, Yang said, and the university had given them all two weeks off — weeks before the coronavirus would sweep the U.S. and interrupt colleges around the country.
In fact, a USA TODAY investigation last winter into Reagan National had found no evidence of students or faculty at the college at all, even though the institution was approved to operate by an accrediting agency sanctioned by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
Colleges that fail to meet accrediting standards should not be approved to operate and receive federal money — and the government counts on accreditors to monitor schools and ensure compliance.