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STATEMENT: CAP’s Ben Miller on Education Department’s Decision to Restore ACICS as Federally Recognized College Accreditor

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that her department will temporarily restore the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), the formerly terminated for-profit college accreditor, as a federally recognized accrediting agency following a court review. In 2016, the department ruled that ACICS, one of the nation’s largest college watchdogs, had been so derelict in its duty that it could not be trusted to grant federal financial aid. Today’s decision allows the accreditor to regain its authority to approve colleges’ access to federal financial aid. Ben Miller, senior director of Postsecondary Education at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement in response:

ACICS cannot even go a year without one of its schools having to settle a lawsuit around allegations of fraud. Allowing ACICS to become a gatekeeper of financial aid again puts thousands of students at risk from schools that could not prove they are worthy of approval from a real gatekeeper. This decision is just the latest example of Secretary DeVos placing corporate interests above students.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Kyle Epstein at or 202.481.8137.