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Calbright receives first-time accreditation

Calbright receives first-time accreditation

Higher Ed Dive

Laura Spitalniak
August 3, 2023
Dive Brief:
  • Calbright College, an online community college in California, received accreditation for the first time Friday from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.
  • The approval lasts through June 2026 and comes almost two years before state lawmakers’ deadline of April 2025.
  • Accreditation is the first step in a multi-year process for Calbright to begin offering transferable credits, it said in a news release. The college, which is free for California residents and awards certificates instead of degrees, doesn’t currently teach courses for credit.
Dive Insight:
Calbright opened in 2019 as a way to increase economic mobility in the state. Its programs are specifically designed for working adults and offer credentials meant to raise their earnings potential.
The college’s students are almost entirely nontraditional — 91% are aged 25 or older and 34% are caregivers or parents, it said last month.
Accreditation is the latest of Calbright’s recent milestones. It also received full funding from the California Legislature’s latest budget and doubled its enrollment in a year. The college now has more than 2,800 students.
But the institution had a rocky start and has experienced administrative tumult.
In 2020, Calbright’s founding president and CEO resigned after less than a year on the job. The college successfully avoided multiple calls from legislators to defund it. And a 2021 state audit recommended that Calbright close if it didn’t improve on student support services and other metrics.
DEAC’s approval provides another step forward for the college.
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