Chabad's Michigan Jewish Institute May Close After Failing To Win Accreditation

Thousands of Students Could Be Left in Cold

Shell Campus: Dov Stein, head of academics at Michigan Jewish Institute, stands outside the entrance to The Shul, a $6 million synagogue in West Bloomfield, where some MJI classes are held.
paul berger
Shell Campus: Dov Stein, head of academics at Michigan Jewish Institute, stands outside the entrance to The Shul, a $6 million synagogue in West Bloomfield, where some MJI classes are held.

By Paul Berger

Published September 24, 2013, issue of September 27, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Thousands of Jewish students are at risk of losing their federal student aid after the Michigan Jewish Institute failed for a second time to win accreditation — and now faces the risk of closure.

The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools deferred its decision to grant the Chabad-affiliated MJI accreditation until December 13.

MJI’s current grant of accreditation, which is required for students to receive Federal Pell Grants worth $5,500 per year, runs out at the end of 2013.

A Forward investigation in the fall of last year revealed that MJI received $25 million in federal aid between 2008 and 2012 despite graduating hardly any students.

So far this year, the college has received $8.6 million in federal funds.

Only American citizens are eligible for the Federal Pell Grant Program, the government’s largest education aid program targeting low-income students. Almost all of MJI’s students are enrolled in study-abroad programs, mainly in Israel, and in online programs. Few, if any, of the students complete their degree courses.

Jane Glickman, a Department of Education spokeswoman, said that without accreditation, MJI’s students will not be eligible for federal funding. Glickman said that in most cases colleges that lose accreditation are forced to close because students cannot afford tuition and the schools in question can no longer afford to pay teachers.

MJI charges students a fixed administrative fee of $2,650 for its study-abroad program in addition to the host school’s tuition fee. Ninety-nine percent of its students receive federal aid, according to the education department.

MJI’s assets have risen in line with the growth of its study abroad and online programs. According to tax records, MJI’s assets grew from $1.2 million in 2008 to $3.9 million in 2012.

When the Forward interviewed MJI’s Director of Academic Administration, Dov Stein, last year, he offered contradictory information about MJI’s student enrollment.

Initially, Stein said MJI had about 3,000 students. Later, he revised that figure down to about 2,000 students.

During a Forward visit to MJI, in West Bloomfield, near Detroit, a reporter was unable to find any college students.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Will Lubavitcher Rabbi Moshe Wiener be the next Met Council CEO?
  • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.