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APA FAQ's on Argosy University

March 11, 2019 10:54 AM | Anonymous

Frequently Asked Questions Received By APA About Argosy University

APA is deeply concerned about the unfolding situation at Argosy and its impact on students, faculty and staff. We developed this page in response to the most frequent questions we are receiving and in an earnest attempt to support members of our community within our powers.

This page was last updated on March 8, 2019 at 3 p.m. ET.

Given what is being reported in the media regarding Argosy University, is APA taking any action?

APA is taking this matter very seriously. It is affecting the well-being of students, faculty and staff across Argosy's campuses, many of whom are our peers, colleagues, APA members and governance leaders within APA. Argosy is also training a significant portion of the next generation of psychology's providers, educators and others in the workforce, which has impact on the nation's access to healthcare. A team of experts across the organization is meeting regularly, devoting significant resources to supporting our members and stakeholders, and mobilizing our Advocacy team.

Rosie Phillips Davis, PhD, ABPP, APA's president, and Beth Rom-Rhymer, PhD, chair of the Council Leadership Team, said in part on March 7: “Our principal charge is to protect students and the public by promoting consistent quality in the teaching of psychology … We are developing a nimble advocacy strategy … Moreover, we are in constant contact with relevant agencies and other affected accreditors, so that we stay apprised of the rapidly changing terrain … APA does not have authority over the decisions of the psychology programs, the institution, the Department of Education, and the Argosy receiver. We must be careful to maintain our role as an evaluator and policy guide. If Argosy closes, the next step will be to work with Argosy and any programs or institutions, arranging teach-out or transfer plans …. APA is committed to continuing to do all within its scope as an accreditor to facilitate these transitions."

Here is some of what APA has been doing:

  • Our APA Advocacy office, in consultation with our Education Directorate and Communications Office, sent a letter on March 1 to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos,urging her to immediately establish a real-time response center to address concerns from affected Argosy students and to provide timely, helpful updates and guidance.
  • APA Advocacy staff have contacted key congressional offices seeking to enlist their assistance.
  • APA is facilitating members of the Argosy community to take their concerns directly to their elected officials via this online action alert.
  • APA is responding to calls and emails from affected students, faculty, and other concerned parties. We established the Psychology Student Action Centerand (202) 336-6014 to listen to members of the Argosy community and direct them to appropriate resources.
  • At the direction of a senior Argosy administrator on Feb. 8, access for applicants applying to Argosy University through PSYCAS, APA's centralized application system, was closed. APA requires that schools participating in PSYCAS have institutional accreditation.
  • APA is also monitoring the actions taken by the Western Senior College and University Commission (WASC) that Argosy submit detailed teach out plans in compliance with WASC policy and guidelines. WASC maintains a page about Argosy. Also see the ‘terms' section below.

I did not receive my expected federal student loan funds from Argosy. What can I do?

Students who are still waiting on financial aid can make inquiries to their institution, to the agency that regionally accredits Argosy (Western Senior College and University Commission) and/or to the US Department of Education.

What happens with my federal student loans when a school closes before I graduate from it?

There is a process for this called Federal Loan Discharge. Read about general criteria and eligibility and information specific to Dream Center/Argosy. Federal Direct Loans, Perkins Loans, and Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) are eligible for discharge. It is important to note that the government says, “If you completed or are in the process of completing a comparable program of study at another school through a teach-out, by transferring academic credits or hours from the closed school, or by any other comparable means, you are not eligible for a closed school discharge.” Also, note that private loans are not eligible; you would have to check with your private loan servicer, or possibly the higher education office

in the state where your closed school was located, to see if there are any closed-school discharge options. APA members are entitled to free support with student loans via IonTuition. We recommend using this service after you contact your federal and private loan servicers, as they are likely to have more information.

Can you explain some of the terms I keep hearing?

  • Teach-out plan: According to the Department of Education, this is “a written course of action a school that is closing will take to ensure its students are treated fairly with regard to finishing their programs of study. Some plans include written agreements between the closed school and other schools that are still open for teaching.” (Read more about the institutional accreditor's Teach-Out Plans and Agreements Policy.)
  • Receiver: A receiver is someone appointed by a government body to take possession and charge of designated assets or property and to administer them in accordance with government or court directives . In this case the receiver was court-appointed.
  • Institutional accreditor or regional accreditor: Western Senior College and University Commission accredits Argosy and its campuses as an institution.
  • Programmatic accreditor: The APA Commission on Accreditation accredits 10 doctoral programs in psychology at Argosy University. APA does not accredit master's programs.
  • Surety bond: An agreement between three parties, in which one (the surety or guarantor) agrees to pay a certain amount to a second (obligee), if and when a third party (principal) does not meet an obligation.

I am a student at an Argosy program. What should I be doing?

Many students and faculty are rightfully distressed by the lack of clarity about what is happening, and what will be the state of enrollment as a student of Argosy in the very near future.

Based on the emails and calls we have received, we understand that some students are finding support in one another via online forums they have created through social media. Some students have told us they are reaching out to local universities about their abilities to transfer credits. Some students are reaching out to members of Congress to start a case file, share their concerns about financial aid and other matters and demand action by the government.

APA set up a response team to hear from concerned students, faculty and other stakeholders. Reach the Psychology Student Action Center via email or by phone at (202) 336-6014, where we will listen to your concerns and direct you to appropriate resources.

APA is also eager to put your message into action. Complete this APA action alert to your member of Congress and ask that they start a case file to assist you.

What should I know about transcripts?

According to WASC Senior College and University Commission, on March 7 “Argosy has indicated that it plans to arrange for student transcripts and records to be made available to students through a third-party service.” Students affected by the possible closure of Argosy may want to contact WSCUC as to how they can obtain copies of their transcripts in the future. The federal government advises that inquiries may also be made to the agency in a particular state that licensed a closed school.

I am worried about my doctoral internship. What can you tell me?

If you are a student already on, or about to go on, a doctoral internship in psychology, and you used the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers to help you find/match to an internship, APPIC released the following information on March 7: “...[W]hile recommendations may change when more information is available, APPIC would like to provide the following general guidance at present: 

  1. "All Argosy students who are currently on internship should continue to move forward toward the successful completion of their internship year. 
  2. "All Argosy students who recently matched in Phase I, and those who will match in Phase II or get placed via the APPIC Post-Match Vacancy Service, should continue to move forward with plans for attending and successfully completing their internships.
  3. "Internship programs who currently have Argosy students on site, or those who have or will soon be matched to Argosy students, should prepare for those students to attend their internships as planned.
  4. "Argosy students who experience a closure of their doctoral program (and a resulting period of uncertainty while a new program is found), a "teach out" situation, a change to a different graduate program, or similar situation are not expected to have their internship placements affected by such a change.
  5. "APPIC understands that there will be hardships and unanticipated circumstances that are created by the current situation, and will consider alternative guidance or exceptions to the above on a case-by-case basis, or as needed as the situation evolves. Should any individual affected by these difficult circumstances wish to consult about their specific situation pertaining to the internship Match, please contact  Greg Keilin, APPIC Match Coordinator. Concerned parties or individuals with information about relevant developments are also welcome to contact me [Dr. Mariella Self, Chair, APPIC Board of Directors].” 

What should I know about credentials banking?

APA is hearing from organizations in the psychology community that wish to help doctoral students at Argosy schools “bank” their credentials in the event Argosy closes. According to an article in the APA Monitor on Psychology"Should you bank your credentials?" credentials banking involves “submitting documentation about your internship, doctoral degree, postdoc and other credentials to a central repository for verification and storage,” and “can offer peace of mind as well as convenience.” There are two organizations offering banking to Argosy students and alums, and both have stepped in to offer assistance at no cost. This service is only available to students in programs that develop students who could later be become licensed psychologists; it is not available to any master’s student, or to any doctoral students outside of clinical, counseling and school psychology. Please visit the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards and the National Register of Health Service Psychologists for more information.

Where can I get some general information about what is happening at Argosy?

A number of media outlets have covered this story. If you would like to read some of the coverage, use the following links:

What should I make of this situation and those involved?

There has been and undoubtedly will be more coverage in the media about this situation and the various parties involved. It is important that members of the psychology community do all we can to recognize the significant ways that Argosy students and faculty have been affected by the actions and circumstances surrounding their education at Argosy University. Students and faculty are the innocent bystanders to what has been happening. We know that students enrolled in APA-accredited programs at Argosy are being trained by faculty who are preparing them for careers to address critical societal needs for behavioral health services. Accredited programs have been judged to meet standards associated with quality education and training.

Questions about APA Accreditation

What would happen to the program's accreditation status if what we are hearing from many people about Argosy's potential closure is true?

APA accreditation of a doctoral program in clinical, counseling or school psychology rests on the program being open for business and having institutional accreditation. Were one or both of those pieces to disappear, a program would no longer meet the requirements of accreditation by APA. The current accreditation status for all accredited programs is provided by the Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation. Its web page contains an online directory of programs it accredits. Changes in accreditation status, when made, are posted in this directory as soon as possible.

What comes next for a student who is attending a school that is closed or is about to close?

When situations arise that affect an APA-accredited program’s ability to operate, the APA Commission on Accreditation considers the circumstances and works with appropriate regulatory, institutional and other authorities managing the situation in an effort to facilitate the provision of quality education and training in health service psychology for those concerned.

What new information can you tell me about APA's role in teach-out and transfer plans?

The ability to transfer courses is not decided by the American Psychological Association. When an institution closes, the parties involved in approving plans for students to transfer to a new university may include the closing university, the university accepting students, institutional accrediting bodies, relevant state boards of higher education, specialized programmatic accrediting agencies and the U.S. Department of Education. The APA Commission on Accreditation, in collaboration with involved parties, is working to help facilitate high quality transfer arrangements.

What can I do if I think Argosy is not following requirements of the Standards of Accreditation?

The APA Commission on Accreditation has a process by which members of the public may file a complaint if it is believed that an APA-accredited program is not in compliance with accreditation standards (PDF, 58KB). You can download the complaint form (DOC, 24KB). The procedures for handling complaints against accredited programs are intended to deal only with complaints based on purported lack of program consistency with the Standards of Accreditation for Health Service Psychology (SoA). It is not a mechanism for adjudication of disputes between individuals and programs.

Who can I speak with at APA if I have more questions?

Staff in the APA offices on Early Career and Graduate Student Affairs are available to respond to questions during standard business hours. You can reach them via phone at (202) 336-6014 or via email.

Click here to view the APA article.

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