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Important Legally Required Disclosures

REQUIRED DISCLAIMERS REGARDING WISR’S STATE LICENSED UNACCREDITED DEGREES AND REGARDING WISR’S FINANCIAL INTEGRITY.
Quite appropriately, the State of California requires that the Western Institute for Social Research (WISR), and all unaccredited, State Approved schools, colleges and universities, disclose to prospective students possible limitations students may subsequently encounter in using their State Approved, but unaccredited degrees. We have discussed the uses and limitations of WISR degrees at great length in here and also in other sections of our website and online catalogue, in particular, please consult the section, “Learning About WISR.”We repeat some of the highlights of the points mentioned elsewhere in this section on “Tuition and Fees” because it is important for prospective students to be aware of the most important limitations they may encounter in using a WISR degree.

40th Anniversary w-out 2015

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STATE REGULATIONS REQUIRING ALL APPROVED SCHOOLS, LIKE WISR. TO OBTAIN ACCREDITATION BY JULY 2020
§71775.5. Pre-enrollment Disclosure; Notice to Prospective Degree Program Students; Institutions with Existing Approvals to Operate.

(a), An approved unaccredited institution enrolling a student in a degree program shall, prior to execution of an enrollment agreement, provide the student with the following notice, which shall be in at least 12-point type in the same font as the enrollment agreement:
Notice to Prospective Degree Program Students

Pre-enrollment Disclosure; Notice to Prospective Degree Program

This institution is approved by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education to offer degree programs. To continue to offer degree programs, this institution must meet the following requirements:

  • Become institutionally accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education, with the scope of the accreditation covering at least one degree program.
  • Achieve accreditation candidacy or pre-accreditation, as defined in regulations, by July 1, 2017, and full accreditation by July 1, 2020.

If this institution stops pursuing accreditation, the following will happen:

  • The institution must stop all enrollment in its degree programs, and
  • Provide a teach-out to finish the educational program or provide a refund.

An institution that fails to comply with accreditation requirements by the required dates shall have its approval to offer degree programs automatically suspended.

(b) The student and an institutional representative shall initial and date the notice prior to executing an enrollment agreement. An initialed copy of the notice shall be given to the student and the original shall be retained in the enrolled student’s records.

(c) The notice shall also be posted immediately adjacent to wherever an institution’s degree granting programs are described and shall include, at a minimum, the following locations:

(1) The institution’s catalog.

(2) The institution’s website.

(3) The institution’s degree program brochures.

(d) This section shall remain in effect until July 1, 2021, and as of that date is repealed.

NOTE: Authority cited: Sections 94803, 94877, 94885 and 94885.1, Education Code. Reference:

Sections 94885, 94885.1, 94897, 94900, 94900.5, 94909, 94927.5 and 94932 Education Code.

 

What does this mean for WISR and for WISR students?

Prior to this new law and regulation, WISR had already decided to pursue national accreditation (see below)

With all accreditation efforts, there can never be a guarantee that an institution will be successful.  The information here is to provide updates on the concerted efforts and steps that we at WISR are taking to achieve national accreditation by 2020, and hopefully a bit before then. For legal and ethical reasons, we cannot promise that we will obtain accreditation, but we will be transparent in disclosing our progress—to the State of California as required by law, and to students, prospective students and interested members of the general public, as well, because such disclosures to the State must be made public.

WISR Board, faculty, alumni and students are strongly committed to obtaining accreditation, and will keep students, prospective students and the State informed of our progress (see update below). If WISR does not obtain accreditation by July 2020, WISR will apply for a two-year extension from the State (as allowed for be an amendment to the original law), and if for any reason, WISR fails to get accreditation on a timetable acceptable to the State (July 2020 or later if there is an extension), WISR faculty will do a teach out with all WISR students, and those students will be able to receive an academic degree that is fully approved by the State of California.

. Update on WISR’s steps in our progress toward National Accreditation, as of November 2018:

Prior to the creation of this new State regulation, WISR’s Board decided in early 2014 that WISR should pursue national accreditation from a national accrediting agency, the Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), which is recognized by the US Department of Education and by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). In June 2014, WISR was visited by the senior staff person of that agency, who is in charge of their accreditation process, and following that visit, the accreditation representative shared observations and suggestions with Dr. John Bilorusky, WISR President.  Following this conversation, WISR faculty and Board made a decision that WISR should pursue further the next steps involved in seeking accreditation from that agency.  In October 2014, Dr. John Bilorusky, attended the initial, and required, accreditation workshop for CEOs of institutions seeking accreditation from that agency.

Since July 2014, WISR’s Board, faculty, students and alumni have been taking a number of steps as part of the accreditation process . . .

  • In Spring 2016, ACICS formally invited WISR to submit formal application for accreditation. WISR did this by submitting our initial application fee to ACICS, the required information and paperwork about our institutional enrollment and status, and recent audit of our financials by a CPA.
  • In Spring 2016, we began the data gathering and self-study required by ACICS, including work on the Campus Accountability Report (CAR) and the Campus Effectiveness Plan (CEP).

Based on this self-study and the ongoing dialogue among faculty, Board, students and alumni, we have identified: 1) areas of strength at WISR that must be sustained; 2) areas of needed improvement; 3) a high level of satisfaction by students and alumni, as well as by coworkers and employers of students and alumni—in terms of WISR’s contributions to student learning. Further, we have developed a plan and a timetable for making concerted and continued progress in working on the areas of needed improvement, including budgetary projections that will support the accomplishment of these improvements, and that will sustain WISR as a vital, high quality institution of higher learning for many, many years into the future.

  • However, in early 2017, we learned that we cannot count on ACICS retaining the US Department of Education recognition that they lost in late 2016, and in any case, ACICS has decided to no longer consider for accreditation those institutions offering a doctoral degree. As a result, we decided to pursue accreditation with a different, and highly legitimate agency. We will report on that progress in due time, and in compliance with that agency’s policy on what can be stated about such progress, in what terms and when. As noted above, with all accreditation efforts, there can never be a guarantee that an institution will be successful.
  • As of November 2018, we plan to submit our self-study to this nationally recognized accreditation agency by March 2019, and will move forward with this agency based on the feedback and instructions that they give us.
  • We reiterate that for legal and ethical reasons, we cannot promise that we will obtain accreditation, but we will be transparent in disclosing our progress—to the State of California as required by law, and to students, prospective students and interested members of the general public, as well, because such disclosures to the State must be made public.
  • As part of our ongoing efforts to develop WISR toward accreditation over the past four years, we have taken, and will continue to take the following steps (among others as needed):
    • An annual CPA audit of our finances
    • A fund-raising campaign to seek donations to help with the considerable expenses associated with accreditation—with about $90,000 having been raised in the past three years.
    • Conducting annual surveys of students, faculty, Board and alumni—to identify WISR’s strengths and areas of needed improvements, and to gather data on the evidence of student learning outcomes.
    • The development of a Strategic Plan (soon to be completed)
    • Monthly meetings of Faculty, (administrative) Executive Committee, and Curriculum Committee—to aid the development of an institutional self-study, and to make needed improvements that build on WISR’s 43-year history and experience in providing quality, learner-centered education for professional and community leadership.
    • Frequent Board meetings, and meetings of Board subcommittees that also involve faculty and students.
    • Use of the WISR annual conference and the semi-annual All School Gatherings and other special meetings at WISR to plan the next steps toward a sustainable and productive future for WISR.
    • Continuing work with faculty and staff to support their professional development.
    • Development of WISR’s onsite library, with the help of a part-time professional librarian, including the cataloging of the library (in progress), as well as extending student access to online resources, through a combination of purchases of access by WISR, and identification of low-cost and free learning resources for students.
    • Refining WISR’s curriculum and putting WISR courses online in a Learning Management System using Google Education Suite (in progress, to be completed March 2019).
    • All WISR seminars are now available on site and by video/audio conference, using Zoom, and most seminars are recording for later viewing by students.
    • Addition of several new core faculty members.
    • Recruiting and involving an academic advisory committee—academicians, professionals and community leaders who can give us feedback and advice as we continue our concerted efforts to develop and improve WISR further.

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In compliance with Assembly Bill 2296, Chapter 585, Statutes of 2012, effective January 1, 2013, WISR discloses the following:
WISR offers unaccredited BS, MS and Doctoral degrees—that is, WISR is not accredited by an agency recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE).

WISR’s degree programs are approved by the State Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education [ “Approved” means, “approval to operate” which means compliance with state standards as set forth in the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (California Education Code, Title 3,  Division 10, Part 59, Chapter 8)].  More information may be obtained from the Bureau’s website:  www.bppe.ca.gov

Graduates of WISR’s MS in Psychology program that is designed to meet the State’s academic requirements for the MFT and LPCC licenses, respectively, are eligible to sit for those licensure exams in California after meeting the other requirements (most notably, sufficient hours of supervised internship).  WISR makes no claims that students may sit for licensing exams in other states.  Students and prospective students interested in licensing in other states should contact those states for definitive information.  Oftentimes, the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) will be able to help its student members of that association learn how to obtain information from other states.

Students and prospective students should know that a degree program that is unaccredited or from an unaccredited institution is not recognized for some employment positions, including, but not limited to, positions with the State of California.Students enrolled in unaccredited institutions are not eligible for federal financial aid programs.Further information regarding required disclaimers is below . . WISR Collage

1.TRANSFER OF CREDIT TO, AND USE OF DEGREES IN, ACCREDITED INSTITUTIONS:Generally speaking, it is wise not to expect to transfer credit at the graduate level (MS or Doctoral) between two institutions, because most graduate programs want students to all of their graduate degree program work at that institution. Transferring credit at the BS level is not so difficult between accredited institutions, but since WISR is State approved and unaccredited, those considering WISR’s BS program should NOT plan to transfer ANY of their undergraduate credit to an accredited institution, nor use their BS degree itself (for admissions to a graduate program in an accredited institution). Specifically:The transferability of credits you earn at WISR is at the complete discretion of an institution to which you may seek to transfer. Acceptance of the BS or MS you earn at WISR is also at the complete discretion of the institution to which you may seek to transfer. If the credits or degree that you earn at this institution are not accepted at the institution to which you seek to transfer, you may be required to repeat some or all of your coursework at that institution. For this reason you should make certain that your attendance at this institution will meet your educational goals. This may include contacting an institution to which you may seek to transfer after attending WISR to determine if your credits or degree will transfer.
NOTICE CONCERNING TRANSFERABILITY OF CREDITS AND CREDENTIALS EARNED AT OUR INSTITUTIONThe transferability of credits you earn at the Western Institute for Social Research (WISR) is at the complete discretion of an institution to which you may seek to transfer. Acceptance of the degree or academic credits you earn in the Western Institute for Social Research (WISR) is also at the complete discretion of the institution to which you may seek to transfer. If the credits or degee that you earn at this institution are not accepted at the institution to which you seek to transfer, you may be required to repeat some or all of your coursework at that institution. For this reason you should make certain that your attendance at this institution will meet your educational goals. This may include contacting an institution to which you may seek to transfer after attending WISR to determine if your credits or degree will transfer.

2. USES AND LIMITATIONS OF WISR’S UNACCREDITED DEGREES TO OBTAIN EMPLOYMENT AND LICENSURE:Only one of WISR’s degree programs is specifically designed to lead to employment in a specific career—the MS in Psychology that meets the State’s academic requirements for the Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) license, and more recently the LPCC license, as well, is designed to help students move toward eventual licensing and careers and employment as licensed MFTs (and for some as LPCCs as well). The significant and typical successes of our MFT program alumni in accomplishing these particular employment and licensing goals is described in our “School Performance Fact Sheet for the MFT Program” which is on our website and available as a hard copy, upon request.
Although the success of WISR alumni in professional advancement and employment is very impressive and well documented, the success of any one student in using their degree from WISR to obtain a particular job definitely CANNOT BE GUARANTEED OR EVEN EXPECTED. Although WISR has been State Approved since 1977 [under current law, “Approved” means, “approval to operate” which means compliance with state standards as set forth in the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (California Education Code, Title 3,  Division 10, Part 59, Chapter 8)], it is not regionally or nationally accredited, and indeed, very tiny institutions such as WISR are seldom, if ever, even evaluated by the regional accrediting agency, and the relevant national agencies do not evaluate institutions offering PhD programs. IT IS IMPORTANT TO EMPHASIZE THAT WISR’S DEGREES ARE UNACCREDITED, AND THEREFORE, WISR STUDENTS AND ALUMNI MAY SOMETIMES BE ELIMINATED FROM CONSIDERATION FOR SOME JOBS, AS WELL AS FOR LICENSURE AND CERTIFICATION IN MOST FIELDS IN OTHER STATES.
The actual experience of WISR students is that they are mostly satisfactorily employed in jobs and careers that they have desired, oftentimes with much greater success than they even hoped for prior to enrolling at WISR. Nevertheless, there are fairly common instances where students and alumni have found that they are eliminated from consideration for some jobs and promotions in public agencies (Federal, State, County, City) when for reasons of legality or bureaucratic convenience, the public agency stipulates that an accredited degree is required for a particular position. Seldom, if ever, have our alumni or students encountered difficulties, because of WISR’s unaccredited status, in obtaining jobs in non-profit and community-based agencies. Similarly, WISR students and alumni have in many cases been successful in obtaining foundation grants, being hired as consultants, and writing books and articles for publication. Although WISR alumni have sometimes been hired for faculty-time faculty positions in large, accredited institutions (e.g., San Francisco State, University of California, Morris Brown University), and many have obtained part-time positions in such institutions, it is well documented that many college and university hiring committees will not consider applicants holding unaccredited degrees.

3. WISR’S FINANCIAL INTEGRITY: WISR has never had a pending petition in bankruptcy, is not operating as a debtor in possession, has never filed a petition for bankruptcy, and has never had a petition in bankruptcy filed against it that resulted in reorganization under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code.

4. The State requires that we remind students that:  if a student obtains a loan to pay for an educational program, the student will have to repay the full amount of the loan plus interest, less the amount of any refund, and that, if the student receives federal student financial aid funds, the student is entitled to a refund of the moneys not paid from federal financial aid funds.

5. ACCESS TO WISR’S ANNUAL REPORTS TO THE STATE: State of California’s Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) is making the annual reports of all approved* [*under current State law,  Approved” means, “approval to operate” which means compliance with state standards as set forth in the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (California Education Code, Title 3,  Division 10, Part 59, Chapter )] institutions, including WISR, available on the State’s website at:  https://www.dca.ca.gov/webapps/bppe/annual_report.php

6. WISR’s 2016 Annual Report can be accessed here.

IF NECESSARY, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO CONTACT THE STATE OVERSIGHT AGENCY.

Any questions a student may have regarding this catalog that have not been satisfactorily answered by the institution may be directed to the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education at  2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 400, Sacramento, CA 95833,   www.bppe.ca.gov Telephone (888) 370-7589 or by fax (916) 263-1897

A student or any member of the public may file a complaint about this institution with the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education by calling (888)370-7589 or by completing a complaint form, which can be obtained on the bureau’s internet Web site www.bppe.ca.gov

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