NAICU Washington Update

Department of Education Upholds ACICS Decision

December 13, 2016

Secretary of Education John King has upheld the decision by the Department of Education to terminate federal recognition of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). ACICS was the federally-recognized national accreditation agency for 245 institutions, the vast majority of which are for profit.  Collectively these institutions enroll more than 600,000 students.

ACICS had its federal recognition terminated in September 2016 and appealed the termination decision to the Secretary while seeking a 12-month window to continue its operations. In his decision to deny the appeal, Secretary King stated that ACICS had engaged in “pervasive noncompliance” and his belief that ACICS could not possibly overcome its deficiencies in the proposed 12-month period to regain its federal recognition.

Secretary King’s decision to uphold the termination decision is the last hope for administrative reprieve for ACICS. The organization intends to “immediately file litigation seeking injunctive and other relief through the courts.” 

In the meantime, higher education institutions currently accredited by ACICS will have 18 months to seek a new accreditor in order to continue accessing federal student aid funds.  

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