September 13, 2023

Florida Palms University Has Closed

Florida Palms University Has Closed

Florida Palms University, which opened in 2020 as a branch campus of Miami-based for-profit Atlantis University, has closed, according to the school’s website.  The homepage of the site says the school, “after careful deliberation, has voluntarily ceased operations.” Other than an email address for obtaining transcripts, and a phone number for additional information, there seems to be, suddenly, nothing else left of the school’s website. 

We reported on July 20 that Atlantis University appeared to be in violation of a rule of the school’s accrediting agency, ACCSC, that governs the use of “branch campuses” tied to a school’s central campus. ACCSC standards, as well as Department of Education regulations, require a branch campus to be “geographically apart from the main school,” yet Florida Palms was located in the same building as Atlantis. 

ACCSC standards and Department regulations also require that a branch campus “have its own faculty and administrative or supervisory organization.” But LinkedIn listed 177 employees at Atlantis University and appeared to list zero employees at Florida Palms University. 

We wondered, because Atlantis had a recognized brand in the community, why it would open a branch with a different name and in some respects be starting all over again.  We asked if Atlantis was effectively trying to launch a new school or brand without having to wait years for approval to get federal financial aid from the Department of Education and approval to enroll international students under the Homeland Security department’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).

As we noted in our July report, Carol Palacios, the executive director and an owner of Atlantis University, is also the chair of ACCSC.

At the time, ACCSC’s Chief Executive Officer, Michale McComis, told us that ACCSC was “aware that Florida Palms University is currently sharing space in the same building occupied by its main campus, Atlantis University, for the time being.” 

Florida Palms University was on the ACCSC list of schools to be considered for renewal at the accreditor’s August meeting, yet an ACCSC notice of commission actions dated September 7 did not indicate any decision on the school at that August session.

McComis, Palacios, and a designated spokesperson for Florida Palms University did not immediately respond to requests for comment.