Pittsburgh Technical College placed on probation, in jeopardy of losing accreditation

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Technical College (PTC) has been placed on probation by the college’s accreditor, Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The commission says PTC is also in jeopardy of losing its accreditation.

11 Investigates has been reporting on PTC for months, beginning with an independent investigation into President and CEO, Dr. Alicia Harvey-Smith. Then there was a vote of no confidence by faculty and staff. Recently, the U.S. Department of Education placed PTC on heightened cash monitoring due to the college’s financial troubles.

>>> U.S. Dept. of Education requiring PTC take action due to failure to meet financial standards

Now, PTC’s accreditor, MSCHE, says the college must come up with a teach-out plan for how students will continue their education if the commission were to withdraw PTC’s accreditation. MSCHE stated that while Pittsburgh Technical College is on probation, the college will remain accredited.

11 Investigates has received phone calls from upset parents, students, faculty and staff who fear the school isn’t being transparent about what’s happening and worry the college will have its doors locked next time they go to class.

MSCHE says on Oct. 31, 2023, the accreditor requested a supplemental information report, which can be requested for a variety of reasons. MSCHE says in December they did not receive the report on time and requested additional information. Now, MSCHE says it’s acting on information received in that report which does not provide enough evidence that PTC complies in two main areas:

  1. Ethics and integrity
  2. Resources, planning and institutional improvement

The commission says PTC must provide a monitoring report by May 1 to prove that the college can meet and sustain the following:

  • Evidence of how PTC handles records of student, faculty, or staff complaints and resolution for a four-year time period
  • A climate that fosters respect among students, faculty, staff, and administration
  • Documents to display financial stability
  • Compliance with responsibilities under federal Title IV and other state laws and regulations
  • Updated financial information relating to the institution’s heightened cash monitoring status

The U.S. Department of Education says PTC requested an extension to provide a letter of credit by March 31. The department says it’s reviewing that request.

PTC must also provide a teach-out plan with:

  • How students will complete their education if the commission withdraws accreditation
  • Teach-out agreements PTC has entered into or intends to enter into with another institution

The commission will also make two visits to PTC. The first will be with a VP Liaison from MSCHE. Then, a team of peer evaluators will visit, take a look at the evidence and make a recommendation to a committee of commissioners. The full commission will vote to take action, which could include a variety of measures.

We reached out to PTC for a statement. The college sent the following:

“Pittsburgh Technical College is an accredited institution and a member of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). PTC can confirm that MSCHE has notified the College that it remains accredited while placed on temporary probation. PTC is actively engaged with MSCHE representatives and plans to fully comply with all related requests for information and address any issues raised by MSCHE to its satisfaction. PTC is one of about 20 institutions of higher education currently in some status of non-compliance action with MSCHE. We remain focused on our students and their success, and are committed to filling the workforce pipeline and training the next generation of workers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond.”

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