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Students upset about online Caldwell-based Canyon College

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Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 12:00 am

CALDWELL — About a month ago, Linda Timmerman paid $500 to enroll in a pharmacology class through Canyon College, a Caldwell-based online school. But when she tried to log on to the class website, she couldn’t.

She called the school and got an answering machine. Her repeated phone calls weren’t returned.

Timmerman, who lives in Texas, said she has spent $6,000 to $7,000 on classes through Canyon College over the past two years. The classes were “in-depth and hard,” she said, and she looked forward to receiving a certification and beginning a career in holistic medicine.

Now, she would be happy to get her transcripts, at least — or a refund.

“I’ve invested a huge amount of my time,” Timmerman said. “Where do I go next? Have I just wasted everything?”

Timmerman is not alone with her questions. Other students enrolled in Canyon College have complained that the school isn’t returning their calls, said Harvey Lyter, Idaho State Board of Education coordinator for private colleges and proprietary schools. Lyter said he also attempted to contact the school’s administrators about student complaints but hadn’t gotten a response.

“I wouldn’t want to characterize it with a hard number, but people have called seeking assistance with Canyon College,” Lyter said.

Meanwhile, the school’s headquarters — an office building at 111 Poplar St. — have been up for sale for 141 days, according to a local realty website.

Called Monday by the Idaho Press-Tribune, a Canyon College representative declined to give his name, but said, “We have been having a problem.”

Canyon College had to sell its offices and lay off most of its employees, he said. The school plans to complete ongoing classes but will not be enrolling new students, he added.

He apologized for any inconveniences for students, and said the school would be returning student phone calls but is currently understaffed.

He said the Idaho State Board of Education treated the school unfairly and wanted too much money in registration fees.

“We’re seeing if we can move to another state,” he said.

According to Canyon College’s website, the school has “provided access to online higher education for over 12 years and currently has approximately 700 students enrolled in its distance learning programs.”

Philip Braun is named as the school’s president.

Lyter, with the Board of Education, said Canyon College operated “under the radar” in Idaho until 2008, when the state notified the school it would need to register. The owners moved the school to California, where regulations guiding proprietary colleges had recently expired.

In 2010, new owners approached the Board of Education with plans to move the college back to Idaho, and in June 2011, they registered to operate in Idaho as a proprietary school for one year.

The registration allows the school to offer certificates, but not college credits or degrees.

State and federal governments do not recognize Canyon College as an accredited degree-granting institution, Lyter noted.

Canyon College’s website lists accreditation with The American Council on Private School Accreditation. The private agency’s website describes Canyon College, incorrectly, as a “degree-granting” institution based in Carmichael, Calif.

Donald Myers, director of accreditation services for The American Council on Private School Accreditation, said Canyon College went through a “long, lengthy” process to earn accreditation. However, he couldn’t provide specifics about what the process entailed, and the accreditation “requirements” tab on the agency’s website doesn’t include a working link.

Myers said he was surprised to learn Canyon College is not considered a degree-granting institution by the government.

Another private accrediting agency listed by Canyon College is the American Naturopathic Medical Accreditation Board, which doesn’t include Canyon College as a member school on its website.

© 2015 Idaho Press-Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Trebuchet posted at 9:52 am on Thu, Apr 19, 2012.

    Trebuchet Posts: 408

    I am very wary of all the various colleges with dubious accredtiation you see on TV all the time. They have no enrollment standards, no guarantee of placement and very high costs to students. Financial aid is nothing more than a student loan that will follow the borrower to his or her grave. Degree and "Certification" mills have no oversight and it is up to the "student" to evaluate the program as well as the institutiion. You may end up paying a lot of money for a worthless degree/certification.

  • Froghair posted at 11:03 am on Tue, Apr 17, 2012.

    Froghair Posts: 21

    Some school...hey, didn't our esteemed Superintendent of Public Instruction get a degree from one like this back east? based on "life experience," done very quickly, unknown address, correspondence/online...

    And this is the business model he and the party elite want to impose on our public school students?

    Doesn't pass the smell test...WAKE UP, PEOPLE! Stop voting him and his party - all collaborators in this - into office!

  • Harriman posted at 9:36 am on Tue, Apr 17, 2012.

    Harriman Posts: 197

    Accreditation is a problem with post-secondary education. No institution or business should be allowed offer any form of education where the cumulative intent is to attain a degree in any discipline which is of comparable recognition with accredited degrees from other institutions unless that institution or business is also recognized by one of the accrediting agencies. A law should be established in Idaho where the school offering extended education must list and notify the prospective student of the accreditation or lack the of.
    If the school you are attending or applying to attend is not approved by , “The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)”, (an independent, non-profit membership organization which based right here in Boise, Idaho and recognized by the United States Department of Education since 1952[1] and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as the regional authority on educational quality and institutional effectiveness of higher education institutions in the seven-state Northwest region of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington) you should look elsewhere or your education money will be wasted and your degree of no use for employment.
    The Accrediting problem is one created by the brick and mortar schools or residential institutions. It has been a problem since the early part of the 20th century when correspondence education was offered to prospective students who lived in regions not served by higher educational institutions. In 1968 a Carnegie financed study entitled, “Correspondence Instruction in the United States” was conducted by 3 of the then top educators at the post-secondary level, Ossian MacKenzie of Penn State, Edward L. Christensen of Brigham Young University and Paul H. Rigby of Penn State. The study is still available at any of the book suppliers. The conclusions they came to are multiple, but their recommendation page 232 Item G was that, “A national examining university should be established to validate the educational experiences of the external student and to grant degrees.” This of course was never implemented as the brick and mortar bunch wants to retain the power of tenure and pomposity. The study also indicated that the hundreds of reviewers used by the researchers came to a conclusive opinion that the external student learned as well or better than the residential student.
    The colleges and Universities will only be able to control this for a few more years and then the American public will be able to get accredited programs and have the opportunity of life long achievement.

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