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SIPI Asks Colleges To Honor Credits

By Andrea Schoellkopf
Journal Staff Writer
          Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute is asking New Mexico colleges and universities if they will continue to accept its transferring credits after the school loses its accreditation.
        The school was notified by the Higher Learning Commission earlier this month that its accreditation will be withdrawn Aug. 6, and the school placed on "candidate" status, after months of review by an accreditation team. Candidacy status allows SIPI to work toward re-accreditation over a one- to four-year period.
        School president Sherry Allison told several hundred students and teachers Tuesday that SIPI has contacted the state's seven other colleges and universities, along with Northern Arizona University, to work out an agreement that will honor transcripts of transferring students.
        SIPI is a two-year college, and students wanting a bachelor's degree or higher must transfer to another institution.
        Vice President Valerie Montoya said it will be up to the receiving institutions to decide whether they will honor the credits, which are courses taught by both SIPI faculty and adjunct professors from University of New Mexico.
        Several students, including the recently elected student-body president, have already made plans to transfer for the fall semester.
        "My parents want me to go somewhere (where I don't have to worry about the accreditation)," said student president Jaslynn Begay, a Navajo from Page, Ariz., who will continue her studies in engineering and network management at Central New Mexico Community College next month.
        Allison said she doesn't yet know how many of the nearly 700 students will return to the school this fall.
        Among the issues the school has to address: testing students to determine the quality of the coursework and learning; better keeping of public records and documentation, such as minutes or attendance records of regents' meetings; and going back to the 2000 accreditation to fix any issues that were mentioned at the time of that report.

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