|Motto||A Place Where You Can Succeed|
|Location||Southern California, Denver, Atlanta, Chicago, Westwood College Online, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, and Virginia, United States|
Westwood College, owned by Alta Colleges Inc., is an American for-profit institution of higher learning with 14 campus locations in five states and online learning options. Westwood is accredited by national organizations including the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSC)1 and the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). Since its inception in 1986, Westwood has graduated more than 30,000 students.2
Westwood offers career-focused diploma, associate, bachelor's and master's degree programs through its Schools of Business, Design, Justice, Technology, Healthcare, and Industrial Services.
The college has been the target of lawsuits and state investigations regarding its admissions and financial aid practices.
Westwood College was founded in Denver, Colorado, in 1953. For many years, the school was known as Denver Institute of Technology, offering diploma and degree programs in a variety of technical fields. As the school expanded into other industries, the name was changed to Westwood College.
Today, Westwood College is part of Alta Colleges Inc. (Alta), a system of for-profit higher education institutions that also includes Westwood College Online and Redstone College (once known as Colorado Aero Tech in Denver). Currently, there are 14 Westwood College campuses located in five states.
Westwood College Online offers 25 degree programs. Coursework is completed entirely over the Internet via audio/visual technology designed to mimic an actual classroom. The virtual classrooms are supplemented with real textbooks.
Westwood College's campus locations are nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).34567 Each campus is approved to operate by the appropriate state regulatory bodies.8 910
Westwood College Online is accredited with the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).11
Westwood College was a candidate for regional accreditation by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools from October 2007 until it withdrew its candidacy on November 1, 2010.12
In addition to its Westwood College Online program, Westwood College has locations in:
- California: Anaheim,13 Upland,14 Los Angeles (Mid-Wilshire),15 and Los Angeles (South Bay).16
- Colorado: Denver North (unincorporated Adams County)17 and Denver South.18
- Georgia: Atlanta (Midtown)19 and Northlake (unincorporated DeKalb County).20
- Illinois: Chicago Loop,21 Woodridge (DuPage),22 Chicago O'Hare Airport,23 and Calumet City (River Oaks).24
- Texas: Early 2013 all Texas campuses were closed. The school claimed lack of enrollment and the economy. However, The Veterans Affairs office and Texas Workforce Commission revoked all VA educational benefits to the school citing deceptive practices, which could have added to the lack of enrollment. 25
- Virginia: Annandale (unincorporated Fairfax County)26 and Arlington (unincorporated Arlington County).27
Westwood College operates on a term schedule. Degree programs start five times a year, and courses are offered year-round during the day, evening and online. Depending on the degree program in which they are enrolled, students can earn an associate degree in as little as 20 months or a bachelor’s degree in three years.
Westwood College's degree programs are organized under six schools: School of Business, School of Design, School of Justice, School of Technology, School of Healthcare and School of Industrial Services. Each campus has a different program focus and some programs are not available at certain locations, depending on the regional economic variables and demand.
Students who have graduated from Westwood can return for tuition-free retraining, which allows them to evaluate and review courses that were within their degree program. Westwood alumni can audit a class they took during their tenure, take an updated course after graduation and continue to learn about new equipment and software.
Westwood has an open admissions policy.28 Applicants are eligible for both Pell grants and federal student loans. In an August 4, 2010 report from the Government Accountability Office, Westwood College was named as one of 15 institutions that "encouraged fraudulent practices" when meeting with undercover investigators posing as applicants. Fraudulent practices cited in this report included encouraging applicants to overstate financial need and hide assets.29 During a congressional hearing to present the report, testimony by a former Westwood admissions representative was disproven by tapes of conversations, and it was reported that this representative's comments were edited by attorneys who were suing Westwood,30 and inappropriately coached by Sen. Harkin staffers who organized the hearing.31
In recent years Westwood College has been the subject of controversy related to a series of lawsuits and some students' inability to transfer credits to other colleges and universities. In May 2009, Westwood settled a federal lawsuit over misrepresentation of its graduation statistics for $7 million, without admitting wrongdoing.32
Westwood faced a class action arbitration filed by the firm James, Hoyer, Newcomer, Smiljanich & Yanchunis in 2009, challenging its admissions and financial aid practices. The suit against Westwood was dismissed because a judge found that it did not warrant class action status, but the court is allowing students to bring individual claims before the court.3334 The Hoyer firm's use of social media to connect with Westwood students was reported in The Wall Street Journal, which also reported that Westwood filed a suit against James Hoyer, alleging defamation through "new media Internet weapons."35
In 2010, Westwood College faced further regulatory difficulties in Texas, Wisconsin, and Colorado. The Texas Workforce Commission took steps to revoke the licenses of Westwood's three Texas campuses due to concerns raised in a federal General Accounting Office investigation,36 but in early 2011 gave the school full approval.9 In Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Educational Approval Board ordered Westwood to stop enrolling students in its online college in late 2010,37 but reversed that directive early in 2011.9
The Colorado Attorney General's office reached a settlement with the college in 2012, following a two-year investigation. As part of the agreement, the college did not admit any liability and agreed to pay the state $2 million in penalties, restitution and attorneys fees and costs. Westwood also will credit another $2.5 million in restitution directly to students who financed their tuition with the school’s institutional financing program.38
In 2011, the Veterans Administration disqualified three Westwood College Campuses from the GI Bill Program. The VA took this step after finding, "erroneous, deceptive, and misleading advertising and enrollment practices at these institutions."39 In late 2011, Westwood stopped enrolling students in their Texas campuses.
On its website, Westwood has responded to many of the allegations against it.41 Regarding credit transfer problems, Westwood acknowledges that in most cases its credits will not transfer to other colleges or universities.42
- "ACCSC Directory". n.d. Retrieved 2010-10-07.
- "ACICS - Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools". October 12, 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
- Jaschik, Scott (October 19, 2005). "Demanding Credit". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 2008-12-12.
- Lederman, Doug (February 26, 2007). "Tussling Over Transfer of Credit". Inside Higher ED. Retrieved 2008-12-12.
- "What is the difference between regional and national accreditation?". Yahoo! Help. n.d. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
- "Types of Accreditation". WorldWideLearn. n.d. Retrieved 2010-10-13.
- Robles, Yesenia (2011-03-05). "Colorado takes Westwood College off probation, grants full accreditation". Denver Post.
- "Westwood College Accreditation". Westwood College. n.d. Retrieved 2010-11-13.
- "ACICS Directory of Accredited Institutions". June 1, 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-15.
- "Higher Learning Commission Accreditation". Higher Learning Commission. n.d. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
- "Westwood College - Anaheim Campus". Westwood College. n.d. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
- "Westwood College - Inland Empire Campus info". Westwood College. n.d. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
- "Westwood College - Los Angeles Campus". Westwood College. n.d. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
- "Westwood College - South Bay Campus". Westwood College. n.d. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
- "Westwood College in Colorado - Denver North". Westwood College. n.d. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
- "Westwood College in Colorado - Denver South". Westwood College. n.d. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
- "Westwood College in Georgia - Midtown Campus". Westwood College. n.d. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
- "Westwood College in Georgia - Northlake Campus". Westwood College. n.d. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
- "Westwood College in Chicago - Loop Campus". Westwood College. n.d. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
- "Westwood College in Chicago - DuPage Campus". Westwood College. n.d. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
- "Westwood College in Chicago - O'Hare Airport Campus". Westwood College. n.d. Archived from the original on 2007-12-29. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
- "Westwood College in Chicago - River Oaks Campus". Westwood College. n.d. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
- "Westwood College winds down operations in Texas". Dallas Business journal. n.d. Retrieved 2013.
- "Westwood College in Virginia - Annandale Campus". Westwood College. n.d. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
- "Westwood College in Virginia - Arlington Campus". Westwood College. n.d. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
- National Center for Education Statistics (2008). "College Navigator - Westwood College". Retrieved 2010-08-05.
- Vise, Daniel de; Paul Kane (2010-08-05). "GAO: 15 for-profit colleges used deceptive recruiting tactics". The Washington Post. ISSN 0740-5421. Retrieved 2010-08-05.
- Jonathan, Strong (08-04-2011). "Reporter". The Daily Caller. Retrieved 08-04-2011.
- Strong, Jonathan (7-21-2013). "Dem. Senator Accused of Witness Tampering". Fox News. Retrieved 7-21-2013.
- Chronicle of Higher Education http://chronicle.com/article/Proprietary-College-to-Pay-/42773/
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- Koppel, Nathan (2010-06-15). "Using Social Networking as Legal Tool". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2010-06-16.
- "Westwood College campuses in Fort Worth, Houston, Dallas may lose licenses, Texas Workforce Commission says". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 2010-09-10. Retrieved 2010-11-08.
- Garza, Jesse (2010-09-16). "College told to stop enrolling Wisconsin residents". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-11-08.
- "Colorado settles case with Westwood College". The Muscatine Journal. 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-14.
- "Durbin: VA Disqualifies Three Westwood College Campuses from GI Bill Program". Dick Durbin site. United States Senate. Retrieved October 31, 2011.
- "Topic Galleries". Chicago Tribune.
- Questions about Westwood College