Clayton College of Natural Health — an unaccredited online school in Birmingham, AL — is closing.
The private, for-profit online school had been offering bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees in holistic health and nutrition since the late 1990s. About 3,000 students across the U.S. were enrolled in the non-accredited school at the time of the announcement in July.
A statement on the online college’s website blamed the recession as the main factor in the school’s failure.
However, the school has been the target of criticism for its academic policies. Oregon, Michigan and Texas have put the school on watch lists for being unaccredited. GetEducated’s Diploma Mill Police service lists consumer cautions about the school in its accreditation report.
Sister school Chadwick University closed in 2008 after Alabama regulators revoked its business license.
In 2008, Alabama instituted a law requiring distance university accreditation. Clayton College had an application pending for accreditation through the Distance Education and Training Council. Schools with pending applications are allowed to continue operating under Alabama’s 2008 law. However, Clayton College has notified the state of Alabama that it will close rather than continue to seek distance learning accreditation.
The school’s website states a “teach-out” program is being established to help students complete terms or programs or to assist with transfers to other natural health colleges.
The online school was founded by Lloyd Clayton Jr. in 1980 as the American College of Holistic Nutrition and became the Clayton College of Natural Health in 1997.