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For-Profit Group Wants Extension for ACICS Colleges

January 4, 2018

Career Education Colleges and Universities, a trade group for the for-profit college sector, this week called on the U.S. Congress to give colleges that are accredited by an agency the Obama administration terminated more time to find a new accreditor.

Shortly before the Trump administration began, the U.S. Department of Education ended federal recognition of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, a national accreditor for roughly 270 institutions, most of them for-profits. That move was due largely to the Obama administration's view that ACICS failed to adequately oversee the failed Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute. ACICS has challenged the decision in court and also sought to have its recognition restored, saying it has fundamentally changed.

In the meantime, the ACICS-accredited colleges have been scrambling to find a new accreditor in the 18-month time frame allowed under federal law. The for-profit group, however, said this week that colleges should be given more time. Other accrediting agencies lack the time and staff to move fast enough to process applications from ACICS institutions, CECU said. A Senate committee in September voted to back an 18-month extension, but that bill has not moved forward.

“Early in this process, a group of accreditors wrote to the department making clear they would be unable to consider all the requests for new accreditation within the current timeline. The only way we can protect the more than 235,000 students attending these institutions is to give the schools and the accreditors more time,” wrote Steve Gunderson, CECU's president and CEO, in a letter to congressional leaders. “Unfortunately, this requires legislative action. We continue to work with the Congress to include such legislation in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill. But that legislation keeps being delayed.”

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