Canyon "College" flees Idaho

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Canyon "College" flees Idaho

Postby g-gollin » Sun Aug 10, 2008 6:53 am

Canyon, feeling the heat from Idaho, has teleported itself from Idaho to California. It joins Breyer State as the most recent exile from Idaho to land in California. See

Canyon College
4017 Garfield Ave
Carmichael CA 95608-6616
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Canyon gets whacked by various states

Postby g-gollin » Sun Aug 10, 2008 5:29 pm

Is a Canyon College degree valid? The school hasn't registered with Idaho, even though officials say it's required, and many states don't recognize its diplomas., Bill Roberts, Boise, Idaho, Idaho Statesman, August 10, 2008.

Janet Killen invested $5,500 and four years of her life getting what she thought was a master's degree in nursing education from a Caldwell online college. When she presented her degree in 2007 to Lane Community College in Eugene, Ore., where she teaches nursing, she was dumbfounded when administrators told her it was worthless in her state.
Moreover, Oregon state officials told her she must stop touting the diploma she received from Canyon College or she could face civil and criminal penalties for using an invalid degree. She has to notify a hospital where she works that her degree is not recognized in Oregon.

"I felt really violated," Killen said. "I have two associate degrees, a bachelor's degree and an illegal master's degree. Do you love it?"

How can something like this happen?

The Idaho State Board of Education, which oversees for-profit colleges like Canyon, hasn't had the staff to enforce state rules that require schools like Canyon to be registered with the state before handing out diplomas.

But Mike Rush, Ed Board executive director, says he will seek an injunction against Canyon College if it doesn't comply with Idaho law.

Oregon won't accept degrees from Canyon College because the school is not registered in Idaho and is not accredited by federally recognized agencies, said Alan Contreras, administrator of the Oregon Office of Degree Authorization.

Registration helps the state be aware of what programs are available in Idaho. Accreditation gives an assurance that the program meets some minimal standards for quality, state officials say.

"Degrees issued by Canyon College have the same validity as degrees issued by Les Schwab Tires or a neighborhood grocery: zero," Contreras wrote to Canyon College's legal counsel.

Idaho state officials also put distance between themselves and Canyon College.

"Their credits will not transfer into any state-supported college inside Idaho," Harv Lyter, Idaho proprietary schools coordinator, wrote to Contreras in an e-mail recently. "Idaho does not consider Canyon College credits or diplomas valid."

Michael F. Storrs, who was listed as Canyon College president when the school filed business papers with the Idaho Secretary of State's office in 1998, could not be reached for comment. John Denmark, also an owner of the school, declined to speak with the Statesman.

In a letter to Contreras, Canyon College's attorney, Brad Miller, defended the school.

Canyon "takes great pride in offering educational opportunities that would not otherwise be available to a number of individuals at an affordable price," he wrote.

A computer search found no lawsuits against Canyon College in Idaho's 4th Judicial District or any complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau.

But Idaho and the school disagree on how much oversight the state should have.

On July 2, Lyter wrote Denmark, saying the school must register with the state by July 31, according to letters the Statesman obtained in a public records request from the State Board of Education.

Miller responded by saying the school offers no degrees from locations in Idaho so it is not subject to registration.

But a law revised in Idaho in 2006 says "if you operated from or purported to operate from a location in Idaho, you are an Idaho school," Lyter said.

In recent days, on some pages of its Web site but not all of them, Canyon College changed its mailing address to a suburb outside of Sacramento, Calif. The phone and fax numbers still have Idaho area codes.


Canyon College, which is 10 years old, has an enrollment of about 4,000 students, college officials say. Online courses are offered in a variety of fields including theology, Chicano and Middle Eastern studies, criminology and nursing, according to the school's Web site. The school has had an office at 111 Poplar St. in Caldwell.

But despite the official concerns with the school, Idaho has done little to compel the college to meet state requirements followed by other private schools such as George Fox University, Stevens Henager College and Apollo College.

Idaho hasn't had anyone to focus on for-profit school oversight until Lyter, a former inspector general at Mountain Home Air Force base, was hired a month ago.

"We've had nobody minding the store," Rush said.

Until Idaho beefs up its regulation of proprietary schools, Contreras will classify the state as one of the "Seven Sorry Sisters, the states with the worst regulation of private colleges." The others are: Hawaii, California, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Colorado, although Alabama has recently toughened its enforcement against such schools.


Oregon isn't the only state with concerns about Canyon College. Washington's office of degree authorization wrote Canyon College officials in July, reminding them that academic credentials from the school are valueless in the state and can't be used to help get employment or a license to practice a trade.

Michael Ball, Washington's degree authorization associate director, said the letter was a "shot across the bow" to Canyon College. Don't "think of coming to Washington," he said.

And the Pennsylvania Department of Education notified its school district officials that Canyon College is "not authorized to operate in Pennsylvania" after a group of teachers in a district 60 miles north of Pittsburgh sought reimbursement for attending classes through Canyon College. The classes could cost taxpayers in the West Middlesex School District between $20,000 and $40,000.

"Taxpayers are putting out taxpayer money and not getting the quality of education expected of an accredited agency," said Tom Hubert, school board president. "Idaho needs to step up to the plate. They are ... allowing them to do this. I would hope officials in Idaho could see that and help us out."


While Canyon has attracted some of the focus of Lyter's office, Lyter also had to pay attention briefly to Breyer State University, a school that made a short stop in Idaho this summer.

Breyer State University, which was in Idaho during the early part of the decade, returned here in late June, according to Idaho Secretary of State business records. The online school moved operations back after it lost its license to operate in Alabama amid a crackdown on what education officials called "diploma mills."

"One of the ... institution's many violations included conferring honorary doctorates on individuals based on life and work experience, a one-time application fee and a monetary contribution to the institution," said a press release issued by Alabama's Department of Post Secondary Education.

On July 2, Lyter told Breyer officials they must register with the State Board under Idaho law.

Late last month, Breyer State changed its address and phone number on its Web site from Boise to Los Angeles.

John Moran, Breyer State's marketing director and dean of students, declined to comment.

The school is appealing the loss of its license in Alabama.


Back in Oregon, Killen, the nursing instructor whose degree was rejected, maintains she got a good education at Canyon College. Killen took about a dozen classes, and she said many seemed in line with those she would have gotten elsewhere but would have cost as much as $600 per credit hour.

Canyon charges $500 per master's course and $435 per bachelor's course, according to the school's Web site.

But Killen is also upset that Canyon College administrators never explained that her degree would not be recognized in Oregon when she started taking classes, she said.

"They should have informed me," Killen said. "I knew nothing."

Contreras, the Oregon degree authorization administrator, wrote Canyon College officials demanding a refund for Killen and reminding school officials that they had agreed in 2000 to notify any Oregon resident that Canyon degrees are not valid in that state.

"We are disappointed that Canyon College continues to take money from Oregon residents," Contreras wrote on July 3. "(T)his kind of crude plunder really needs to stop."

On Friday, Canyon College officials agreed to a refund, but did not mention Killen by name in the letter or the amount it would give back.

Miller wrote that the school agreed to the refund in part because Killen was threatened "with criminal prosecution if she listed having a degree from Canyon College on her resume." Canyon officials also offered to quit accepting Oregon residents if the state would drop whatever issues it has with the college.

Contreras declined.

"The laws of Washington, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Illinois, Texas, Maine, New Jersey and Virginia disallow the use of degrees from Canyon College," Contreras wrote. "For Canyon simply to cease offering its products to Oregon residents would serve little purpose unless it also agreed to cease offering them to residents of the other states."

As for Killen, she's back on the Internet, looking for another place to get a master's.

"I want a degree," she said.
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An Oldie But Still a Goodie...

Postby levicoff » Sun Aug 10, 2008 6:02 pm

Perhaps the old-timers from AED and DI will rememer this. We had a guy (Larry something-or-other) who had gotten locked into a "teaching contract" with Canyon on whose behalf I had intervened (successfully).

But first, a word aout their so-called move: they didn't. The phone number under the California address on their web site reverses back to good ol' Caldwell, Idaho.

And, similar to what you will read below, the California address of their campus reverses to a house - according to Verizon, the home of Joan A. and Howard Nordberg [whose listed number is (916) 973-1963 if anyone wants to have some fun]. (There is the possibility that it is an apartment with ther residences at the same addy, but I didn't go so far as to check this.)

Anyway, returning to happier times at Canyon, here's the letter that I sent to Michael Stoors, their president, over 8-1/2 years ago on behalf of ol' Larry something-or-other from AED...

January 15, 2000

Michael F. Storrs, President
Canyon College
521 West Maple Street
Caldwell, ID 83605

Dear Michael, et al:

I am a member of a consortium of academic professionals and consumer activists actively engaged in research and advocacy on distance education issues, especially the exposure of degree mills. We have been in contact with one ____________, have been informed of his history of involvement with Canyon College, and are in receipt of correspondence to __________ from Michael F. Storrs, copies of which were sent to John Denmark and attorney Bryan Walker. I have also reviewed __________'s contract, which is so convoluted that even a legitimately accredited school wouldn't touch it.

This response is written on behalf of __________, but has not been reviewed by him in advance. I note for the record that it is not to be construed as a formal response, and the nature of any feedback with which I have provided __________ should not be construed as legal advice.

With that in mind, Michael, grab a cup of coffee, plant your ass in a chair, and take your medicine.

____________ has never called Canyon College a degree mill on the Internet newsgroup, I did. I submit, sir, that your institution is a fraud, a scam, a sham, a con, and a rip-off. Face it, sweet cakes, Canyon College is a fucking joke.

Now let's get down to business. Kindly open your textbook to your letter of January 13, 2000, to __________.

First, I submit that the contract between Canyon College and ___________ is null and void based upon Canyon College's misrepresentation of its programs, its legitimacy, and the acceptance of its degrees. Hell, man, Canyon is a fucking degree mill, and I'll testify to that in any courtroom in the nation - even one in Caldwell, Idaho. Then I'll invite judge and jury to a box lunch on the lawn of your luxurious campus - John Denmark's house. (A fucking house! I love it! Hell, man, even the Caldwell Fire Department was on the floor laughing when they verified the property information for me.) And you can explain to the court how you manage to fit a School of Business, School of Psychology and Counseling, School of Social Work, School of Health Administration, School of Theology, and School of Divinity into that cute little edifice at 521 West Maple Street. (Note to John Denmark: By the way, that was me calling Saturday night. Hell, man, if you're going to have a scam college operating out of your fucking house, you shouldn't answer the phone live on the weekend. I mean, if that isn't obvious . . .)

Now, you referred to __________'s "recent unprofessional conduct and false or derogatory statements." Nonsense. __________ has exhibited far more patience with you wazoos than I would have at any time. He has not engaged in unprofessional conduct, and his statements about Canyon College were evenly tempered. Even if they had not been, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and shits like a duck, it's a fucking duck. And you guys walk, quack, *and* shit like a typical degree mill.

I have reviewed the Canyon College web site extensively, and it's a joke. C'mon, dude, six courses for a master's degree? Six courses for a doctorate degree? Not to mention the lack of disclosure about your psychology and counseling programs, which would not qualify a person to sit for the professional board exams in any licensure-based state. Moreover, your FAQ contains misleading statements about the possibility of achieving licensure with a Canyon degree. (Am I wrong, sugar buns? Prove it - cite one student who was able to become professionally licensed in any state and in a mental health field with a Canyon degree.)

I submit that you make false and misleading statements about the transferability of your credits, the possibility of Canyon's future accreditation by a legitimately recognized agency, and the compatibility of its degrees with those of other institutions. (C'mon, sport, a six-course "Masters in Divinity" degree? You're on my turf here, and I'm laughing my ass off.)

Now let's get to the bottom line. _______'s contract is null and void (chorus join in, "now and forevermore!"). You jackasses wouldn't stand a proverbial snowball's chance in hell if you were to take legal action against him, and if you have been up front with your attorney (which I highly doubt) he has already told you this. (Incidentally, I loved the "we have sought legal counsel" bit. Bryan Walker certainly has solid credentials, right down to his J.D. from the University of Houston Law School. But if he's half the realist he should be, he wouldn't be bonkers enough to take this case on a contingency basis. And unless you're willing to spend megabucks on legal fees for a losing case, it's time to give this issue a rest.)

So get off ______'s ass. You scammed him once, and he now has the support of a major group of educators and consumer advocates in distance education behind him. Legal action? Right, dude - I'll be delighted to have a jury laugh your sleazy little ass out of any courtroom in the country. Just as I'll be laughing if I have to place a call to my buddies at the Idaho State Board of Education (on State Street in beautiful downtown Boise, just a lovely 45-minute drive from Caldwell), the Idaho Attorney General's Office and, of course, The Idaho Statesman (which would have even more of a ball with this than I have had).

In short, you swindling little charlatan, the matter is closed. Consider __________ out of the contract. And you will do absolutely nothing - I repeat, *nothing* - to hinder his ability to work, to damage his reputation, or to impugn his credibility, or I will go to town on you. Pro bono.

Now, before you respond - if you have either the balls or the stupidity - be a good boy and check out my own qualifications and experience. You'll find my curriculum vita right on my home page at [my old web site, no longer in operation]. You'll find some of the books I have written, including two authoritative volumes on distance education and two law books that are still used as legal texts. So make sure that any response you send is eloquent as hell, because I can't be bothered with amateurs. And if I haven't pushed your buttons enough, I'm delighted to tell you that I have posted a copy of this letter right on the newsgroup, where it will be available to potential millions of people around the world.

Trusting that __________ will not hear from you again, I remain -

With best wishes, kindest regards, and hugs and kisses,

Steve Levicoff, Ph.D.

cc: John Denmark
Bryan K. Walker, Esq.


[Note to readers: If any of you would like information on Canyon College, call the number on their web site at Try it at, say, 3:00 A.M. What the hell, it's a business number, isn't it? I'm sure that Mr. Denmark will be delighted to assist you in your inquiry.]
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Re: Canyon "College" flees Idaho

Postby Jimmy » Sun Mar 09, 2014 10:37 pm

Their current website states they are not enrolling students at this time.
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Re: Canyon "College" flees Idaho

Postby johann » Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:20 am

Jimmy wrote:Their current website states they are not enrolling students at this time.

Now that's a service to the community! Three cheers! :) Keep it up, Canyon!

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