Regulators strips off accreditation of private equity-backed university in Chile

February 5
7:33 AM 2014

The accreditation of a university in Chile owned by Laureate Education Inc where former US President Bill Clinton is the honorary chancellor was removed by regulators, denying its students access to government loans, Bloomberg reported.

The National Education Council or CNED said it will not be reaccrediting Universidad de las Americas based in Santiago. The ruling supported a decision made by the higher education accreditation commission in October which withdrew its recognition of the university because of declining academic quality. With a population of over 33,000 students, UDLA is the second biggest university in the country, the report said.

The regulator said in a statement, "In spite of its efforts, the university hasn't shown the ability to identify important problems with internal management."

Meanwhile, UDLA Chancellor Jose Undurraga said in a post on the university's website that they will be undertaking the necessary changes so that the accreditation can be restored. Undurraga said, "The denial by the CNED hurts, but it doesn't change an objective truth, recognized by the university community. We are an institution that has strengthened and improved substantially over the last few years."

Based in Baltimore, Laureate is the biggest for-profit college company in America in terms of enrollment. The chain, which was an offshoot of the tutoring chain Sylvan Learning Systems, now has over 800,000 students in 75 schools located in 30 countries. In 2010, Clinton was made its honorary chancellor and has given over a dozen appearances on behalf of the company since then, the report said.

Doug Becker, the Founder and CEO of Laureate took the company private in 2007 together with Henry Kravis, George Soros, Steve Cohen, Paul Allen and other investors in a $3.8 billion deal. Laureate has tripled its annual revenue since then to $4 billion and nearly quadrupled the number of students in its schools, the report said.

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