Stratford University, an independent university in Falls Church, Virginia, is at risk of losing its accreditation and is under orders to stop enrolling new students through mid-March, News4 has learned.
The university is under scrutiny for allegedly operating an unapproved program in Irbil, Iraq. The Iraq program at Stratford is also the subject of a civil lawsuit filed this week against the school in federal court in Virginia.
“Given the seriousness of the allegations against Stratford University, the Council took the unprecedented step of requiring an immediate halt of all new enrollments and the submission of fully executed teach out agreements," the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools wrote to Stratford in a formal letter.
If Stratford loses its formal accreditation, it would lose federal funding. Its students could lose access to Pell Grants and some student loans. The school could also lose its ability to enroll international students who attend American universities through programs operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, News4 is told.
Stratford University has not responded to multiple requests for comment this week.
Officials with the Accreditation Council for Independent Colleges and Schools conducted an on-site visit at Stratford’s campus in Alexandria, Virginia, in January.
A meeting between accreditors and Stratford is scheduled for March 30, the News-4 I-Team has learned.
In a statement posted on its website Jan. 31, the university said they agreed to open a Stratford Language Institute, a separate entity from the university itself, that conducts English as a second language courses, in Iraq in partnership with an organization called International Academic City (IAC). However, IAC, “refused to follow the required protocol and began operations as though they were an official campus of Stratford University.”
They recommended that prospective students do not enroll in “American Stratford University in Erbil, Kurdistan."
In the online statement, the university said it formally objected to the unauthorized program and terminated the partnership on Dec. 27, 2019.