Democrats Want Investigation of Accreditor's Restoration

December 19, 2018

Leading Democrats in the U.S. Congress on Tuesday called for the U.S. Department of Education's Office of the Inspector General to investigate the department's decision last month to restore federal recognition for a controversial national accreditor with a focus on for-profit colleges.

Representative Bobby Scott, the Virginia Democrat who soon will lead the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and Senator Patty Murray, a Washington Democrat who leads her party on the Senate's education committee, said they want the inspector general to review whether Education Secretary Betsy DeVos "used incorrect information" to determine compliance by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools with federal regulatory criteria. ACICS oversaw Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute before their collapses. The Obama administration later terminated the agency's federal approval.

The statement from Scott and Murray cited a recommendation from a department official earlier this year to restore ACICS. The recommendation falsely claimed that the accreditor's restoration was backed by several other accrediting agencies, an error Politico first reported. The two Democrats also noted the collapse of the ACICS-accredited for-profit chain Education Corporation of America, which occurred two weeks after DeVos restored the agency's recognition.

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