The U.S. Department of Education on Friday recommended terminating recognition of the troubled Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, or Acics, whose membership consists largely of for-profit career colleges. The accreditor’s status is scheduled to be debated next month by a federal advisory panel before the new Education Department leadership will decide whether to, once again, revoke Acics’ status as a gatekeeper of federal student aid.
The move marks the latest reversal in a series of back-and-forth decisions. In 2016, under President Barack Obama, department officials revoked the accreditor’s recognition, accusing it of lax oversight of institutions like ITT Educational Services Inc. and Corinthian Colleges, which had gone out of business and left their students with degrees of dubious value and substantial debt.
In 2018 a U.S. District Court judge found that the department had “procedurally erred” in its decision, and remanded the case to the education secretary at the time, Betsy DeVos, who later reversed the decision and preserved the recognition.
In their latest salvo, department officials said the accrediting agency had “failed to demonstrate that it consistently trains its representatives for their roles and follows its own policies and procedures, as required by regulation.”