The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools on Friday said it would withdraw its application to be recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, a membership group for colleges that recognizes institutional and programmatic accrediting organizations.
ACICS, a struggling national accreditor that mostly oversees for-profit colleges, came under fire during the Obama administration after the collapse of Corinthian Colleges and ITT Tech. The U.S. Department of Education revoked the accreditor's recognition, meaning that after a transition period it would no longer be able to serve as a gatekeeper for the federal aid eligibility of colleges. But the Trump administration in 2018 restored ACICS's status.
Recognition by CHEA isn't necessary for an accreditor to oversee federal aid eligibility. But approval by the association can affect decisions by state authorizers, specialized accrediting agencies, licensing boards and some institutional authorities in other countries.
CHEA's recognition committee had been reviewing the application from ACICS. The national accreditor said the withdrawal was not due to concerns it would be successful in meeting CHEA's standards.
"To the contrary, we believe strongly that the information the agency submitted with its recognition application -- both narrative and evidence -- satisfies any reasonable interpretation of CHEA’s standards," the accrediting agency said in its letter to CHEA.
However, CHEA had notitified the accreditor that the committee was recommending that recognition for ACICS be denied based on noncompliance with nine standards.
ACICS said it had significant concerns about CHEA's recognition process and about "its ongoing implementation of several new policies." The agency said it plans to reapply at a later date.