Senator Urges Tough Stance on For-Profit Accreditor

June 10, 2016

The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools has a "long record of failure" as an accreditor that warrants tough action by the federal advisory panel that is set to review the agency's recognition later this month, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren says in a report being released today.

The report from Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat who has become a leading voice on behalf of students on debt and other issues, documents the underperforming institutions that ACICS has accredited and the signs that she says the accreditor has ignored. The report warns that the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity -- which at a hearing later this month will review whether ACICS should retain its recognition as an accreditor -- should be judged for its actions regarding ACICS.

"Students and taxpayers have a right to expect that the federal government has their back when it comes to rigorous monitoring of accrediting agencies," the report states. "After years of lax oversight, the Department of Education can meet that standard only if it makes immediate changes in how it handles the accreditor renewal process and clearly demonstrates that it understands the devastating consequences of ACICS’s long record of failure. These changes must start with ACICS at the June NACIQI meeting."

In a written statement, ACICS said it would work with Warren and the U.S. Department of Education on several changes the accreditor has announced recently.

"ACICS takes seriously all criticisms against our organization and we recognize the need for internal reform in order to better protect and serve students," the accreditor said. "That is why we have announced several bold initiatives to both reform and strengthen ACICS’ effectiveness and its oversight of member institutions. We are confident that these measures will re-evaluate, fortify and enhance every aspect of ACICS’ accreditation process."

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