ED Cancels ACICS Accreditation Recognition

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Staff Reporter

The Department of Education (ED) formally canceled its recognition of the long troubled accreditor Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) on Wednesday. "ACICS’s significant and systemic noncompliance with multiple regulatory recognition criteria leaves me no reasonable option but to terminate its recognition, effective immediately," wrote Jordan Matsudaira, deputy undersecretary for education, in a notice — first reported by USA Today — posted Wednesday to ED's website. Under the Obama administration, ACICS was stripped of its federal recognition largely due to its oversight of the large for-profit college chains Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute. 

“Accreditors are entrusted with assuring institutional quality and acting as gatekeepers to federal student aid,” ED wrote in a press release following the announcement. “In its February 2021 final staff report, accreditation staff found that ACICS failed to comply with federal recognition criteria including monitoring of compliance of institutions and inadequate administrative capability. Such breaches in compliance, as determined by agency staff and NACIQI, warrant withdrawal of federal recognition.”

ACICS may appeal ED’s determination of noncompliance and decision to terminate the agency’s recognition, but must notify the agency within 10 business days, or by June 16, 2021. The agency appeal must be filed with the Education Secretary and concurrently provided to ED’s Senior Department Official (SDO) no later than 30 days after receipt of this decision, or by July 2, 2021.


Publication Date: 6/3/2021

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