A senior Education Department official’s recommendation to extend federal approval for a troubled accreditor attributed endorsements of the decision to several peer organizations. The problem? As Politico reported last week, those accreditors say they never backed the move.
In a Sept. 28 letter, Principal Deputy Under Secretary Diane Auer Jones said that the department should grant continued recognition to the Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges and Schools with the condition that it meets all federal standards within 12 months.
Jones’s letter said ACICS had already met 19 of 21 relevant federal criteria. One of those standards is a requirement that an accreditor be widely accepted among other higher ed organizations. Jones cited support from four national and five regional accreditors in the letter.
But as Politico reported, all but one organization disputed that claim.
The department said the citation was an inadvertent error and that it would formally correct the statement.
"There was an inadvertent error in the editing process we are aware of and working to formally correct," department spokesman Nate Bailey told Politico.
A more comprehensive review of ACICS by career department officials earlier this year found that the accreditor failed the standard that it be widely accepted by peer organizations.