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Bay State College will lose accreditation if appeal fails: “We are heartbroken”

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A checkered history of financial mismanagement and fraud at Boston’s Bay State College has jeopardized accreditation at the private, for-profit higher education institution.

If an appeal that college officials plan to file comes up short, Bay State will lose the ability to receive federal funds and issue degrees, effective Aug. 31, the New England Commission of Higher Education announced this week.

Bay State, owned by Chinese holding company Ambow Education, had an operating budget deficit last year of more than $500,000, NECHE President Lawrence M. Schall cited in a Monday letter explaining his commission’s decision to withdraw accreditation from the college.

The college’s poor financial state caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Education in December when it placed Bay State under heightened cash monitoring, designed to strengthen accountability for institutions faced with accreditation issues and struggling administrative capabilities.

Bay State interim president Jeff Mason delivered the “bad news” to students in a letter Monday night. The decision won’t impact students who are slated to graduate this spring from the college, which has campuses in Back Bay and Taunton, he said.

The college, which has an enrollment of roughly 270 students, will remain open to some extent through the end of August, Mason said.

“This is not the outcome we expected and, frankly, we are heartbroken,” he said.

NECHE made the withdrawal decision during a meeting last week before making a public announcement Monday.

The commission placed Bay State on probation last May for failing to meet its standards for institutional resources, and organization and governance, and the college didn’t recuperate during the probationary period, Schall said in his letter.

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