Monday, September 23, 2019

University of Puerto Rico out of ‘show cause’ status

By on June 28, 2019

The University of Puerto Rico Clock Tower in Río Piedras (CB file)

Middle States Commission restores campus accreditations

SAN JUAN — The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) determined that the 11 campuses of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) were in compliance with its Standard of Accreditation VI and Requirement of Affiliation 11.

With this determination, the non-profit association that evaluates learning institutions reaffirmed its accreditation of all campuses, which were placed in show cause status Jan. 10 after the academic institution had again missed the deadline to submit audited financial statements for fiscal year 2017.

The MSCHE’s decision halts the noncompliance process; therefore, the UPR will no longer need to submit a progress report in September. Instead the UPR will need to submit a monitoring report in March, which is part of the regular accreditation process.

The decision in the latest meeting of the MSCHE commissioners comes after the campuses submitted progress reports in which they included the corrective actions that have been implemented with regard to the noncompliance found.

The reports must have included financial documents of the institution, including the audited financial statements of 2018.

The commission moved to “reaffirm accreditation because the institution is now in compliance with Standard VI (Planning, Resources, and Institutional Improvement) and Requirement of Affiliation 11,” which covers resource documentation and long-term planning, saying the UPR was “demonstrating further evidence of sustainability of implemented corrective measures,” according to the announcement.

The culmination of the show cause process comes at the same time the National Science Foundation (NSF) published a closeout memorandum on the 2013 investigation on the UPR. During former Gov. Luis Fortuño’s administration, the NSF suspended funding to the UPR because of irregularities in the billing of some university researchers. The investigation didn’t result in any criminal charges but the UPR had to pay a $1.8 million fine.

With regard to the show cause process, on March 14 the evaluating committee recommended the continuation of the noncompliance process for all the campuses and a “good cause” extension for the eight campuses that had been put on probation in 2017.

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