Chabad College in Michigan Finally Wins Accreditation Renewal

Even Though Most Students Fail To Graduate

On 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
On 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 May 30, 2014.

A Jewish college at which almost all of its 2,000 students study overseas and where few students graduate has renewed its grant of accreditation — at the fourth attempt.

The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools renewed Michigan Jewish Institute’s grant of accreditation “with admonishment” after three times deferring its decision.

An article in the Forward, in the fall of 2012, showed that MJI received more than $25 million in federal aid over the previous five years, even though almost all of its students — most of whom are on study abroad programs in Israel and who take MJI classes online — fail to graduate.

Data compiled by the U.S. Department of Education showed that only 9% of the students who began their studies in 2010 as freshmen returned in 2011 as sophomores. According to the same data, MJI awarded only three bachelor’s degrees in 2011.

Since then, MJI’s performance has improved. According to Education Department figures, 40% of full-time students who began in 2011 as freshmen returned in 2012 as sophomores. MJI awarded 20 bachelor’s degrees, all through its “distance education program,” in 2013.

ACICS granted renewal of MJI’s accreditation “with admonishment” in April. The decision was only made public in May.

A spokesman for ACICS said in an email that “the basis for the admonition is between ACICS and the institution, as are the findings that led to the deferrals.”

The spokesman added that an admonition “is an instruction to an institution either to initiate some prescribed practice or to refrain from some proscribed activity. An admonition does not condition the grant of accreditation, but failure to respond to it could result in a subsequent negative action.”

Dov Stein, head of academics at Michigan Jewish Institute, did not respond to requests for comment.

Contact Paul Berger at berger@forward.com or on Twitter @pdberger



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