10.09.18

Rep. Takano Calls for Release of Full Department of Education File on ACICS

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) released this statement after it was revealed that the Department of Education inflated the support from other accreditors in its recommendation for granting the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) federal recognition for another year. 

“ACICS, at its height, was the largest accreditor of for-profit colleges, however, it often granted accreditation to low-performing, predatory institutions that engaged in risky and fraudulent behaviors, like ITT Technical Institutes and Corinthian Colleges. Both ITT Tech and Corinthian Colleges shuttered suddenly due to fraudulent practices, leaving thousands of students in massive debt and without many options to complete their education. The Obama Administration was correct to withdraw federal recognition of ACICS in 2016, citing, among many other shortcomings, that ACICS standards, policies, procedures, and decisions on accreditation were not accepted by other agencies, a requirement for federal recognition.

“In the report recommending ACICS’ approval for federal recognition, the Department of Education cited letters of support for ACICS from nine different accrediting agencies as proof that ACICS was now widely accepted by other accrediting agencies. But in the wake of the report’s release, many of those accreditors deny having ever submitted letters of support. While the Department of Education called this an “inadvertent error,” this support from other agencies was cited as part of the wide acceptance of ACICS that suggested they complied with federal regulation. The fact that this support was non-existent casts doubt upon the report and raises questions about other conclusions made in the Department’s report.

“ACICS has failed to do their job to protect students in the past and I am concerned they will fail students again in the future. For the sake of full transparency that students and taxpayers deserve, I call on the Department of Education to release any and all data that informed the recommendation to grant ACICS federal recognition.”

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