City College of San Francisco may be able to keep its doors open, at least for now.
New rules proposed by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges today signal an unexpected extension for City College to meet accrediting standards and avert the anticipated closure of the college attended by some 80,000 students.
In a statement released this afternoon, the ACCJC said it has "worked to identify a path forward that maintains the termination decision and holds the college accountable for addressing the standards, but would enable the college reasonable but limited additional time to come into compliance with ACCJC standards."
Without an extension, the commission had been on track to rescind the college's accreditation by July 31 after what it said were "years of inaction by CCSF to address serious deficiencies" at the school that included financial issues, insufficient student services, outdated teaching guidelines and antiquated computer systems.
Doubts over its accreditation status have led the school to lose thousands of students and a significant portion of state funding.
The impending closure has drawn outcry from students, faculty, community members and state and national lawmakers including House Minority Nancy Pelosi who predicted disastrous consequences if City College closed.
Until today, the ACCJC showed no sign it would give the college more time to meet its accreditation standards - saying that to grant an extension would violate federal rules.
Even after the U.S. Department of Education told the commission it had the authority to grant the extension, the ACCJC appeared to hold firm on its decision as late as last month, sending a letter to Pelosi saying it would not extend the deadline.
But this afternoon, the commission announced a proposal for a new accrediting policy that would allow City College to request more time to meet accreditation standards and prevent closure.
Under the proposal, the college could apply for "restoration status," and if deemed eligible, would have two years to complete the ACCJC's requirements to come into compliance and regain accreditation.
City College officials did not return calls for comment this afternoon.