Career Education Gets 'Routine' Inquiry From Accrediting Body

It's looking for documentation at the company's Montclair, N.J., facility.
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An accrediting body has made a "routine" request for documents from

Career Education

(CECO) - Get Report

, the college operator whose shares were hammered earlier this month on allegations of record-keeping issues at a facility in California.

The current request by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools relates to a different campus: Gibbs College in Montclair, N.J., a Career Education property that has seen its own share of controversy.

The council extended Gibbs' accreditation by one year but "deferred further action on the new grant of accreditation" until the requests are answered. It's seeking a 1957 college transcript for a Gibbs instructor; documentation that eight faculty members participated in development programs; a plan to complete the education of students enrolled in a program that was canceled; and a revised catalog and television ads reflecting agreed-upon changes.

Career Education said the request is unrelated to a wrongful-termination lawsuit filed against the New Jersey school by a former placement director. That suit, in which a former employee said she was fired for refusing to doctor records, caused the first of two blowups in Career Ed's stock since mid-November.

The more recent one was sparked Dec. 3 when the

Santa Barbara News-Press

printed a former registrar's allegations of bookkeeping malfeasance at the company's Brooks Institute of Photography. The article led to a 30%-plus selloff in the shares over two days, ending a run in which the stock had come close to tripling since the start of the year.

Investors were reacting less excitably Tuesday. The shares were recently down 12 cents, or 0.3%, to $37.50 on the Instinet premarket.