• Middle States Commission to withdraw standards endorsement
  • Long Island school defaulted on about $50 million in bonds

Dowling College’s efforts to forestall being shut down just got more difficult.

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education released a report Tuesday that said the organization is withdrawing its accreditation of the Oakdale, New York-based school after 45 years, effective Aug. 31. The decision states that the 2,000-student private school on Long Island’s south shore has "failed to document that the institution has achieved and can sustain ongoing compliance" with several standards for accreditation.

"We found that Dowling laid off virtually all staff and faculty and is offering no summer classes," said Richard Pokrass, a spokesman for the Philadelphia-based peer-evaluation association. "We felt strongly they’re not in operation and don’t have a faculty."

Eric Cote of CK Communications Inc., who serves as a spokesman for Dowling, declined to comment at this time.

After announcing earlier this month that it planned to close, the school said it was in negotiations with a for-profit education network to keep the institution alive. Dowling was the first-ever college rated by Moody’s Investors Service to default. It had been using temporary agreements in the past year to stave off creditors of its $50 million in debt.

It is up to Dowling on how to proceed, whether it chooses to close, continue operations, or merge with another institution, Pokrass said. The school can operate without being accredited, however the institution will not be eligible for some types of funding and students will lose access to financial aid, he said.

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