Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Good News Comes in Threes For Ave Maria University

The good news keeps flowing from the sub-tropical paradise known as Ave Maria, Florida.

1: Accreditation

It looks like accreditation for AMU is simply a matter of time, despite the (by now very tiresome and predictable) nay-saying of the school's detractors. Here is a brand new teaser from the subscription-only Chronicle of Higher Education:

The federal panel charged with panel charged with reviewing college accreditors has been advised by its staff to approve all requests for recognition at next week's semiannual review, potentially averting a showdown with the nation's largest accrediting agencies.

The Google News excerpt of this same article also includes this bit that leads one to believe the "strife" is o'er:

AALE provides student-loan eligibility to 10 small, religiously affiliated institutions, including Ave Maria College, Thomas Aquinas College...

This comes on the tail of reading last week that it was never much to worry about in the first place:

Despite AALE’s problems, Sites said the school is not worried about losing federal funding. Should AALE’s recognition be pulled, schools solely accredited by the organization will retain access to federal funds for 18 months, according to an education department spokeswoman. By that point, Sites said, Ave Maria hopes to have achieved candidacy status with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the regional accreditor that recognizes Florida Gulf Coast University, Edison College and Hodges University among other schools in the Southeast.

2: Enrollment

It looks like enrollment and admissions figures are also promising. The same article from last week also reported that:

According to August student enrollment statistics, there are 447 degree-seeking undergraduate and graduate students on campus and 147 students enrolled in the school’s distance learning master’s program.

Local television news also reported the good news that "Students flock to Ave Maria":

Students are flocking to Ave Maria University but the housing market may be keeping others away. The University's Founder says there are hundreds even thousands wanting to move to Ave Maria but can't until they sell their homes. Despite the housing market, the Catholic town continues to grow at a fast pace. The first restaurant opens Friday [Editor: a coffee and tea shop also opened that same day] ...It's expected 300 new Freshman will enroll in Fall 2008, representing almost half of the students attending next year.

3: Construction

All those students need somewhere to live - so we also have news of another groundbreaking on campus:

Ave Maria University broke ground Thursday morning on a new dorm scheduled to open next fall. The dorm, the university’s fourth, is part of an expansion effort that will include another dorm scheduled for completion by fall 2009. The dorm begun Thursday will be 44,453 square feet with 80 student rooms, allowing for a total occupancy of 160 students. Upon completion, the school will provide housing for approximately 600 undergraduates, a university release said.

Update: Several more google news excerpts of the Chronicle article make it clear that the professional educators advising the Secretary of Education find AALE to be worthy of accreditation:
In its recommendation for next week's review, Naciqi's professional staff has told the panel that AALE has shown that it requires colleges "to demonstrate...

Lawmakers also persuaded Ms. Spellings to abandon an effort this year to rewrite rules governing accreditation that would have given her department more...

The staff recommendations include renewing the accreditation authority of the American Academy for Liberal Education…

In its recommendation for next week's review, Naciqi's professional staff has told the panel that AALE has shown that it requires colleges "to demonstrate...

"Department staff conclude that the agency has acted in good faith," the Naciqi staff report said of AALE.