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Ashford University to Run Parallel Process of Appeal and Re-application for WASC Accreditation

SAN DIEGO, July, 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Bridgepoint Education's Ashford University received notice on July 5, 2012 that the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) acted to deny Ashford University's application for initial accreditation. WASC is one of seven regional accrediting commissions, with jurisdiction over schools located in the states of California and Hawaii, as well as the U.S. Pacific Islands. 

Ashford University is disappointed by the Commission's decision and has met with WASC executive staff to review. Ashford has informed WASC that it intends to initiate an appeal of the WASC decision in accordance with WASC's established procedures and time frames, and that it also intends to undertake the parallel process afforded by WASC to re-apply for initial accreditation. This will be accomplished through the submission of a report responding to the conclusions of the Commission's action letter, with a visit as early as Spring 2013. The re-application process does not require the University to undertake a full self study.

Ashford University is currently accredited by, and in good standing with, the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges (HLC) through 2014-2015, at which time it will participate in another comprehensive evaluation to maintain accreditation. Ashford initiated application for WASC accreditation in recognition of the migration of a substantial portion of its activities, in support of its online programs, into that accrediting body's geographic region. Ashford University has been advised by HLC that it has until December 1, 2012 to demonstrate compliance with HLC's "substantial presence" requirement. Ashford has assured HLC that it intends to abide by the Commission's policies and requirements.

The HLC region subsumes 19 states from Arizona to West Virginia, including Iowa where Ashford University maintains its residential campus.  

About Bridgepoint Education
Bridgepoint Education, Inc. (NYSE:BPI) improves the way individuals learn. By harnessing creativity, knowledge and proprietary technologies, such as Constellation, Thuze and Waypoint Outcomes, Bridgepoint Education has re-engineered the modern student experience with innovative solutions that advance learning. Its accredited institutions – Ashford University and University of the Rockies – embody the contemporary college experience. Ashford University offers associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs while University of the Rockies offers master's and doctoral degree programs. Both provide progressive online platforms, as well as traditional campuses located in Clinton, Iowa (Ashford University), and Colorado Springs, Colorado (University of the Rockies). For more information about Bridgepoint Education, visit www.bridgepointeducation.com or call Shari Rodriguez, associate vice president of Public Relations, at 858.668.2580.

About Ashford University
Ashford University is defining the modern college experience by combining the heritage of a traditional campus with the flexibility and effectiveness of online learning. The University provides a vibrant learning community where high-quality programs and leading-edge technology create a dynamic, immersive and stimulating learning experience. Ashford University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association (www.ncahlc.org). The University offers practical and progressive associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs online, as well as bachelor's degree programs at its Clinton, Iowa, campus. Ashford University – where heritage meets innovation. For more information, please visit www.ashford.edu or call Shari Rodriguez, associate vice president of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements including, without limitation, statements regarding Ashford University's plans in response to (1) WASC's denial of its application for initial accreditation and (2) HLC's communication regarding the institution's compliance with the commission's jurisdictional requirements. These statements involve risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially from those expressed in or suggested by such statements.  Such risks and uncertainties include, without limitation: the inability of Ashford University to successfully appeal the WASC decision to deny accreditation; the inability of Ashford University to successfully reapply for initial accreditation with WASC; the inability of Ashford University to satisfy timely HLC's jurisdictional requirements, which could lead to a loss of accreditation and eligibility to participate in Title IV programs; and uncertain costs, management distraction and potential business disruption associated with efforts by Ashford University to establish and maintain a substantial presence in the north central region under HLC's jurisdictional requirements.

More information on potential factors that could affect our future results is included from time to time in the "Risk Factors" and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" sections of our periodic and other reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including, without limitation, our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011, filed with the SEC on March 7, 2012, and our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2012, filed with the SEC on May 1, 2012.  See also our Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the SEC this morning which addresses the matters discussed in this press release.  These filings are all available on the SEC's website at www.sec.gov.

Forward-looking statements are made on the basis of management's views and assumptions regarding future events and business performance as of the time the statements are made, and the Company assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements or information, which speak as of their respective dates, except as required by law.

Contact: Shari Rodriguez, Associate Vice President of Public Relations
858.668.2580 - shari.rodriguez@bridgepointeducation.com

SOURCE Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements in this press release regarding Bridgepoint Education Inc.'s business which are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties. For a discussion of such risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, see "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report or Form 10-K for the most recently ended fiscal year.