Today, Emma Vadehra, the Chief of Staff to Education Secretary John B. King Jr. at the U.S. Department of Education decided to terminate the Department’s recognition of ACICS, the Accrediting Council For Independent Colleges and Schools.
The decision was the third step in the department’s move to systematically dismantle the organization after finding it rife with poorly enforced standards and lax oversight by its executive committee. Critics say the agency, the largest of the national accreditors, didn’t do enough to ensure the quality of the institutions it accredits. However; supporters including industry group CECU, Career Education Colleges and Universities blames political self-interest;
saying the department’s attack on ACICS undermines the interests of non traditional students.
ACICS is expected to appeal the decision directly to the Secretary of Education within the next 30 days. After that, if the Secretary ultimately decides to stop recognizing ACICS, schools that it has accredited will have 18 months to obtain accreditation from a different recognized accreditor. Accreditation is one of the requirements a school must maintain in order in order to remain eligible for federal student aid.
Secretary King has been quoted as saying if an appeal comes, it would be resolved quickly.
Schools that are seeking alternative accreditation must provide their plans to the U.S. Department of Education as well as to their State Authorizing Agency and to current and prospective students.
Students and families concerned about the changes at ACICS and how it may affect them can get great info from the U.S. Department of Education Blog.