Delta Tech students searching for answers after graduation canceled

Delta Tech students searching for answers after graduation canceled
(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Delta Tech's abrupt ending to seeking new accreditation and the canceling of spring commencement left many students upset last week.

Kayla Dargin was looking forward to graduation. She was a straight A-student who never missed class despite working and taking care of her children. So when she found out that graduation was canceled it left her asking why.

"It just makes me feel like we've wasted our time for nothing," said Dargin. 
When news broke last week that Delta Tech was choosing to stop seeking accreditation, and on top of that cancel spring commencement, Dargin couldn't believe it. 
"It's just a lot that we went through, and to say we're not going to graduate is heartbreaking," said Dargin. 
Dargin finished her general studies degree in January, but had been calling the school for the last two months to figure out when exactly graduation would be taking place. When she saw on 7News that it was canceled she called again. 
"I was like did they cancel graduation, and she was like well you graduated, you got your degree and I said that doesn't count for anything," she said. "I wanted to walk. We got kids need to see us walk across that stage." 
Delta Tech issued a press release stating that on December 12, 2016 the United States Secretary of Education withdrew federal recognition of Delta Tech's accrediting body: The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools or ACICS.

This gave Delta Tech 18 months or no later than June 12, 2018 to secure accreditation from a new accreditation agency.  
Delta Tech decided to stop seeking new accreditation, and no longer participate with federal student aid programs, saying their reputation and good standing in the community had been severely damaged due to the actions taken by the United States Secretary of Education. 
The press release also said that significant hardships was the reason Delta Tech was canceling graduation. 
That decision by the U.S. Secretary of Education was made after ACICS petition to renew its recognition. The U.S. Secretary of Education conducted a review, and found ACICS to be in violation of 21 separate recognition criteria set forth in the regulations. 
Those violations included insufficient institutional monitoring, failure to meet its Title IV responsibilities, and lax enforcement on the agency's existing accrediting standards. 
ACICS appealed the decision in September 2016, and in December the U.S. Secretary of Education officially withdrew their federal recognition. 
After that decision multiple schools decided to voluntarily withdraw their accreditation according to ACICS's website. On the list is Delta Tech who withdrew their accreditation from ACICS on July 19, 2017. 

Delta Tech choosing not to seek new accreditation means they will no longer be able to offer federal student aid to students. 
7News reached out to Delta Tech's Chief Executive Officer Jeff Edwards.  He declined an on camera interview but did agree to answer questions by email.

When asked if the school is closing, Edwards said they have not made any decision to close. In March 2017 the school did make a formal application to a new accrediting agency, the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training. Their application was accepted in May 2017 by ACCET and by July they withdrew their accreditation from ACICS. 

Edwards said they have notified the U.S. Secretary of Education, and the Louisiana Board of Regents that they would no longer participate in federal aid programs after June 12 of this year. 
For Dargin, she's disappointed in how the school has chosen to handle this entire situation.

"They would walk around with a smile on their face talking to all of us when they knew that we wasn't going to graduate... (with a) ceremony, they knew that they were in trouble with the government, that they weren't accredited," she said. "They knew that their budget was low, they knew a lot. 
Other students have reached out to 7News with concerns over their degrees saying they can't get answers from the school's Dean of Academics Michelle Edwards.  However, we're told by Delta Tech's CEO that Michelle Edwards no longer works there, and in fact, she's now the president of ACICS.

Like others, Dargin's future is on hold right now since most of the universities and schools in the area won't accept her credits, and she's spent most of her financial aid at Delta Tech. 
But this entire ordeal does leave her with a warning for anyone looking to go to college.

"Before you check yourself into school, make sure you know what you're getting yourself into," she said. "Make sure you read before you sign, and make sure they are accredited.

Dargin also believes her financial aid was mishandled during her time at the school.  She and other students are looking to getting a lawyer to take their case.

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