ACICS, Controversial Accreditor, Gives Up the Fight

ACICS, Controversial Accreditor, Gives Up the Fight

After years of battling with the U.S. Education Department under two Democratic presidents, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges & Schools said Tuesday that it would end operations by 2024.

ACICS, which at its peak accredited hundreds of for-profit colleges and trade schools, became a visible target of Obama and Biden administration regulators concerned about the quality of those institutions in the wake of the high-profile closures of some of its members. The Obama Education Department stripped the accreditor of federal recognition in 2016, the Trump administration restored ACICS's authority in 2018 and the Biden administration again targeted it for closure within months of taking office.

Last month, Deputy Education Secretary Cindy Marten officially terminated the department’s recognition. While some speculated that the agency would continue its almost decade-long fight for survival, its officials said Tuesday that they would not appeal the Education Department’s ruling.

ACICS continues to accredit 44 institutions with 67 campuses, about two-thirds of which participate in federal financial aid programs. Those that do will have 18 months to find a new accreditor or they will lose access to federal funds.

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