University officials said the school is willing to make changes to keep the school open. Virginia officials will determine if the changes are justified or not in May.
The decision follows the school’s accrediting body, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) found widespread issues during a recently conducted audit, such as plagiarism and uninspiring online courses, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
SCHEV auditors found that students had limited interactions with their classmates; over one in three online classes had class sizes containing three students or less. The students also reported not having enough time spent with their professors.
“SCHEV’s review of VIU’s online course content indicates that the admission of unqualified students is the first of many impediments to a quality online education system,” the audit said. “Unqualified students regularly submit plagiarized or inferior work; faculty turn a blind eye and lower grading standards (perhaps to avoid failing an entire class); and administrators do not effectively monitor the quality of online education being provided.”
In light of the findings, VIU said it would have liked to have its online program to continue running, but would stop it at the end of April and continue “as a ‘bricks and mortar’ institution.”
Although the council is moving forward in revoking the school’s certificate of operation, which is required in order to stay open, VIU won’t close immediately, SCHEV spokeswoman Laura Osberger said. SCHEV will have a “fact-finding conference” in late May.
“It is my hope and expectation that VIU will answer most (if not all) the issues raised by SCHEV in our response and at the fact-finding hearing,” said Chap Peterson, a Fairfax City state senator who is serving as the institution’s lawyer.