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Education Dept. Upholds Revoking of Embattled Accreditor’s Recognition

John B. King Jr., the secretary of education, on Monday upheld the U.S. Department of Education’s decision to revoke the federal recognition of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, an agency that had accredited for-profit colleges that suffered recent high-profile collapses.

The department revoked the accreditor’s recognition in September, after it was accused of lax oversight in its accreditation of two now-defunct for-profit educators, ITT Educational Services Inc. and Corinthian Colleges. After its recognition was revoked, the accreditor, known as Acics, appealed the decision.

In a written statement, the agency said it would sue to regain its recognition.

“Acics has acknowledged its shortcomings and worked diligently to correct them so that, together with Acics-accredited institutions, we can continue to work to help students achieve their academic and career goals,” said Roger Williams, the accreditor’s interim president, in the statement.

The accreditor’s loss of federal recognition, if not overturned by the courts or reversed by the incoming Trump administration, would require the hundreds of colleges Acics accredits to seek another accrediting body or lose access to federal student-aid dollars. They may continue to receive such financial aid for up to 18 months, but could face new restrictions from the department. Some are likely to close.

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