Published: April 2016

ACICS fails to enforce education standards; wastes $3.5 billion in federal aid

Consumer Action joined a coalition of 22 student and consumer protection organizations in asking the Department of Education to revoke the recognition of the much-criticized Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). This is the same agency that allowed Corinthian College to keep its accreditation up until the day it filed for bankruptcy. A recent ProPublica report found that students at schools accredited by ACICS were worse off than students at other schools: only 35 percent of students graduate from ACICS-accredited schools, the lowest rate of any accreditor (the national graduation rate is around 59 percent) and within three years of leaving school, one out of five students who graduated from an ACICS-accredited school defaulted on their student loans.

Accreditors are nonprofit agencies that are supposed to ensure college quality. To qualify for the government’s student aid programs, colleges are required to get an accreditor’s stamp of approval. Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) has failed to enforce its own standards, nor does the agency provide strong enough oversight of the institutions it accredits. Under ACICS’ watch, Corinthian Colleges received $3.5 billion in federal aid, despite investigations from more than twenty state attorneys general, the Department of Education’s inspector general, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.  

Allowing this troubled agency to continue its laissez-faire attitude toward quality assurance weakens the effectiveness and purpose of the entire accreditation system and risks further waste of student and taxpayer money.

Lead Organization

Generation Progress

Other Organizations

American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) | Americans for Financial Reform | 
Campaign for America’s Future
Center for Public Interest | Center for Responsible Lending | Children’s Advocacy Institute of the University of San Diego School of Law | Consumer Action
 | Consumers Union
 | Faculty Forward Network | Generation Progress | 
Higher Ed, Not Debt
 | The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS) | 
Mississippi Center for Justice
 | National Consumer Law Center, on behalf of its low-income clients
 | National Women Veterans Association of America | 
Project on Predatory Student Lending at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School | Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
| Student Debt Crisis
 | Veterans Education Success | 
Veterans for Common Sense
 | VetJobs | 
Young Invincibles

More Information

For more information, visit Generation Progress.

Download PDF

ACICS fails to enforce education standards; wastes $3.5 billion in federal aid   (LetteronACICS.pdf)




Quick Menu

Facebook FTwitter T