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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The Department of Education (ED) has upheld the ED staff and the National Advisory Council on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) recommendations  that the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) should no longer be recognized as an agency that can provide schools with an accreditation that makes them eligible for participation in federal aid. A copy of this decision is available online at

An official blog on the ED website – “What College Accreditation Changes Mean for Students” – contains information that explains that accreditation “is an important signal to students, families, and the Department about whether a school offers a quality education” and that accreditors “have a responsibility under federal law to make sure colleges earn that seal.” This blog is available online at

The blog explains that as part of the regular process for reviewing accreditors, DOE staff recommended that the ACICS should no longer be recognized as an agency that can provide accreditation that makes schools eligible for participation in federal aid that open the doors to a college education for millions of Americans. For more information on the failures that led to that recommendation, visit

The blog also contains answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) for students at schools with ACICS accreditation. For students who have already graduated from an ACICS-accredited school, their degree will not be compromised since their school was accredited when they earned their degree. A more detailed set of questions and answers is available at

According to a press release titled “Department of Education Decision” on the ACICS website, the ACICS plans to appeal the ED decision to deny renewal of accreditation recognition. The ACICS will retain its federal recognition while the appeal is pending and “remains determined to fully execute its accreditation responsibilities in a professional manner.” The complete press release is available on the ACICS website at

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