Leader of Troubled Accrediting Agency Resigns

August 2, 2016

Anthony Bieda is resigning as the leader of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, said the large, national accrediting agency, which is facing an existential threat. Bieda took over in April after the abrupt departure of the group's longtime president, Albert Gray. In addition to Bieda's resignation, roughly a quarter of the agency's staff has been laid off in recent days.

Roger J. Williams is ACICS's new interim leader. Williams, an accreditation expert, has been an adviser to the agency since May.

ACICS accredits 245 institutions (many of them for-profits) and a larger number of branch campuses, which enroll a total of roughly 800,000 students. The accreditor has faced intense pressure for its oversight of Corinthian Colleges and other controversial institutions. In June a federal panel voted to terminate ACICS. If the department is able to follow through on that recommendation, the colleges ACICS accredits would need to find a new accreditor.

This week the agency is conducting hearings related to its possible sanctioning of several high-profile institutions, including ITT Technical Institute, Education Management Group and Zenith Education.

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