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Feb 4, 2010 8:23 PM by Danielle Lerner

Cuesta College accreditation status sparking concern among students

For the first time ever one local community college is put on probation, now students are wondering what it means for them.

Cuesta College has not lost its accreditation, but a commission says some changes need to be made to keep that from happening.

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges put the school on probation Wednesday.

The change comes after the commission visited the campus in October.

It all started last January when the commission put the college on warning status and listed nine areas of needed improvement.

More unwelcome news for students at Cuesta College as the school fights to keep its accreditation.

"I'm really frustrated and I really wish I would have known about this stuff earlier," said Jena Kuhnle, a student at Cuesta.

Losing accreditation could affect student financial aid make it harder for their credits to transfer.

The status change also comes just one day after the college canceled almost all of its summer semester classes because of a lack of funds.

"Now I have a full year that I have to do because I can't go to summer school anymore," said Kuhnle.

"This is serious business and we're going to take it very serious," said Dr. Gil Stork, interim president.

Stork is urging students and staff not to worry.

"I'm offering my assurance to them that this college will correct the deficiencies and not put them in jeopardy," said Stork.

The commission says Cuesta needs to improve in six areas, from its financial planning and stability to its leadership and governance.

It also noted that the college, "does not have sufficient staff, with appropriate preparation and experience to provide stable administrative services."

Something the president says could be corrected as early as May.

"I hope that they get everything together and get things figured out because it's going to be a real bummer if all my time here has been wasted," said Kuhnle.

The college must now file a follow-up report by October 15.

The commission will then revisit the campus in November and issue a final report next January or February.

The college will keep its accreditation throughout the probation process.

If the commission is still not satisfied next year the school will have to write a letter stating why its accreditation should not be revoked.

For a complete look at the commission's findings visit and click on Newslinks.


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