Editor’s note (10/25/16): On Friday, Oct. 21, ACICS appealed the senior Department official’s decision to uphold the NACIQI and Department staff recommendations to end the agency’s federal recognition. The appeal will be decided by the U.S. Secretary of Education; there is no deadline for the Secretary to render a decision. Until he decides, there is no change in federal student aid eligibility for ACICS-accredited institutions.
Editor’s note (9/22/16): Today, the designated senior Department official upheld the NACIQI and Department staff recommendations to end recognition of ACICS. The agency has ten calendar days to inform the Department of their intent to appeal the decision to the U.S. Secretary of Education if it wishes to do so.
Editor’s note (6/24/16): Yesterday, NACIQI – the independent board that advises the Department of Education on accreditation – voted 10-3 in support of the Department’s recommendation to end recognition of ACICS. As noted in the post below, that was the next step in the process after the initial recommendation for Department staff. The recommendations now come to a senior official here at the Department, who has 90 days to make a decision. After that, ACICS will have the opportunity to appeal the decision to the Secretary of Education if it wishes to do so.
For millions of Americans, federal student loans and grants open the doors to a college education. That critical federal aid must be used at a school that is (among other things) given the seal of approval by an “accrediting agency” or “accreditor” recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. It’s one of the safeguards in the system. Accreditation is an important signal to students, families, and the Department about whether a school offers a quality education. Accreditors have a responsibility under federal law to make sure colleges earn that seal.
But what happens when the Department stops recognizing an accrediting agency?