The Education Department (ED) revoked the accreditation status of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) after years of scandals related to for-profit schools and the student loans provided to students across the country.
“ACICS is no longer a nationally recognized accrediting agency and can no longer serve as a ‘gatekeeper’ of institutional eligibility for federal student aid programs,” the ED stated in an announcement titled: “U.S. Department of Education Terminates Federal Recognition of ACICS.”
The non-profit education corporation accredited now defunct for-profit schools ITT Tech and Corinthian Colleges. Many students enrolled at these schools didn’t have transferable credits nor promised degrees. ACICS was also accused of double dipping in taxpayer funded pandemic PPP loans and coronavirus stimulus payments.
“ACICS accredited the worst of the worst scam schools, including Corinthian, ITT Tech and Art Institute and a school that didn’t even exist,” Thomas Gokey, an organizer with the Debt Collective, said in a statement. “These schools never should have been allowed to access federal funds, and the harm they have done to millions of students can only be repaired by full cancellation and a commitment to fund high quality public college for all.”
A 2018 NBER working paper found that students who attended for-profit colleges were more likely to obtain a federal loan than those who attend a public college and three times more likely to default on student loans — driven by the fact that these students were six times less likely to receive employment after enrollment compared to their public college peers.