Some online schools don't much care for accreditation rules

Wyoming-based ed company picks up and moves to Alabama, while others move as far as Swaziland to avoid oversight.

Wyoming has a new requirement that private universities be accredited, and it has prompted several online universities to move to areas where there is less oversight, reports the Caspar Star Tribune.

Preston University has moved their operations to Alabama in response to the new law, which requires all private universities to be accepted as accreditation candidates and to become accredited within five years.

"They don't require accreditation, and they allow you to operate there before you get accredited," Preston Chancellor Jerry Haenisch said of Alabama's laws.

Fairmount International University, a new online school which offers business programs, is currently filling the gap. Preston and Fairmount share the same owner and president, Abdul Basit, and chancellor, Haenisch.

Alabama at this point, has little regulation but that may soon change.

"As I understand it, Alabama is discussing new legislation that would provide them with the power to evaluate schools and keep schools that are not teaching very much to their students from calling Alabama home," said George Gollin, a University of Illinois physics professor and board member of the Council of Higher Education Accreditation.

Rutherford University has also moved from Rock Springs to Mbabane, Swaziland, according to the school's Web site.

Newport International University, based in Laramie, filed suit last year against the state over the new accreditation law. Newport, like Preston, has several overseas campuses, and Newport officials say Wyoming's accreditation law isn't suited for such schools.

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