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This SD college apparently has no students or faculty



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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Reagan National University was supposed to be a place of higher learning in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. But it was unclear how it awarded degrees. By all appearances, at present it has no students, no faculty and no classrooms. 

An agency meant to serve as a gatekeeper for federal money gave the university approval to operate anyway.

That accrediting agency, financially troubled and losing members fast, exists mainly because it was saved by the Education Department in 2018.

Accreditation might be the driest part of higher education, but these independent groups have huge importance: If they approve a college, the government agrees to give federal grants and loans to the students there. 

The agency in question, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges & Schools, has a history of approving questionable colleges, with devastating consequences. It accredited ITT Tech, Corinthian Colleges and Brightwood College, massive for-profit universities whose sudden closures last decade left thousands of students without degrees and undermined the value of the education of those who did graduate. Those closures led President Barack Obama’s Education Department to strip ACICS’ powers in 2016. 



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