The report gave the college's administration credit for "good-faith attempts" to address concerns raised by the Middle States Commission but portrayed many of the college's responses as thin efforts to stave off the loss of accreditation rather than deeply considered changes. It rated the college as out of compliance with six of the 14 standards upheld by the Middle States Commission and in "serious danger" of falling out of compliance with two others.

Nabit described the report as "overkill."

"Nevertheless, there are embedded in those hundreds of pages of text, some legitimate concerns that need to be addressed," he said.

With its history of operating multiple campuses, Stratford is well-equipped to address the problems, Nabit said.

Shurtz said the new branch campus would likely operate on a provisional accreditation for a year before facing a full review by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. He said Stratford recently went through the same process at its campus in India.

"I'm convinced we can address everything," Shurtz said. "The key is that you have to actually train the faculty."

Stratford will not gain ownership of Baltimore International's real estate assets, valued at more than $20 million according to 2010 tax documents. Instead, Stratford will lease Baltimore International's main building on Commerce Street and its Culinary Arts Center in Little Italy. Other properties, including hotels in Baltimore and Ireland and the downtown Bay Atlantic Club, will likely be sold to pay down Baltimore International's debt, Nabit said. Any leftover proceeds could go to scholarships for prospective students, he added.

The college is also facing a $5 million lawsuit from its founder and former president, Roger Chylinski, who says he isn't receiving the six-figure annual retirement payments he was promised when the board asked him to resign last year.

Nabit said the lawsuit has been on the back burner during negotiations. But he said the board would "make a good-faith attempt to resolve those issues in mutually beneficial fashion" to avoid a protracted legal battle.

childs.walker@baltsun.com