Today, in a brief update on their website, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) confirmed that they have filed their appeal to Education Secretary John B. King Jr. at the U.S. Department of Education. The agency, which accredits hundred of institutions nationwide, was de-recognized in September after Senior Department of Education Officials moved to shut them down.
While Secretary King reviews their appeal, ACICS remains accredited and simply stated that it will “continue operations with the full expectation of carrying out its responsibilities to the institutions it currently accredits”, noting that the time frame for the Secretary’s decision is unspecified.
Many are speculating that the decision will come after this year’s Presidential Election.
Over the last few months, ACICS has worked extremely hard to prevent loss of recognition and has made a number of changes in its accreditation criteria, bylaws and its senior leadership. The face of ACICS appears to have changed, and consequentially, they are seeking additional time, an additional 12 months, to provide evidence that these changes better protect students and taxpayers. Through a combination of rigorous standards that lead to meaningful outcomes at the schools it accredits, and holding institutions accountable, ACICS hopes to renew and recover its historical role as a highly regarded accrediting agency.
Accreditation is one of the requirements a school must maintain in order in order to remain eligible for federal student aid. 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. If the council’s appeal is unsuccessful, they “will be actively pursuing injunctive and other relief through the courts,”
Peter Terebesi is the President and founder of Higher Ed Executives. You can find Peter on Twitter (@FSAPete), and reach him through the Higher Ed Executives website. You may also email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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