Whether it is federal legislative and regulatory activity, or state-specific activity impacting students and private institution in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, or Wisconsin, CSPEN is here to provide you with the latest information and steps you and your institution can take to advocate for your students and your school(s).
BREAKING NEWS – Secretary DeVos Resets the Clock on ACICS!
Earlier the evening, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos delivered a communique to ACICS stating unequivocally that, based upon the March 23, 3018 decision by the U.S. Court of the District of Columbia, remanding the prior Secretary of Education’s decision to revoke ACICS’s recognition as a recognized accrediting agency, that the prior revocation of ACICS is withdrawn and ACICS’s status as a fully recognized accrediting agency is restored effective as of December 12, 2016.
The letter goes on to explain that until such time as Secretary DeVos has the opportunity to review the over 30,000+ pages of information submitted at the request of the Department as part of their 2016 petition for recognition, as well as additional information that the Secretary offers ACICS the ability to submit in furtherance of their petition for re-recognition, the agency will remain recognized.
Moreover, the Secretary makes clear in her correspondence that the pending petition for full recognition submitted by ACICS in December of 2017 is no longer valid or necessary, and as a result ACICS is being pulled from the May 2018 agenda of the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity.
ACICS now has until May 30, 2018 to provide additional information in response to the prior submission under their original petition for re-recognition, as well as any additional information they wish to provide based upon the time that has elapsed. The Secretary makes clear that this information will be reviewed and responded to by the Senior Department Official (SDO) – in writing – by no later than July 30, 2018.
Based upon the SDO’s review the Secretary leaves open all of the options under the regular review process, including, but not limited to full re-recognition through 2021, limited recognition for a period of one year in order to provide ACICS with the ability to comply with the outstanding violations, or revocation of their recognition.
Cutting through all of the legal jargon and the questions related to who, what, where, when and how – and for how long. CSPEN’s unofficial assessment of this correspondence is that the clock has be turned back all the way to a period where ACICS remains a recognized accrediting agency, all ACICS-accredited institutions (regardless of whether or not they are pursing or obtained alternate accrediting agency recognition) are currently accredited by a recognized accrediting agency – and therefore were – since December 12, 2016 and remain now – eligible to administer Federal Student Financial Assistance, and will remain so until such time as ACICS responds to the petition for re-recognition, the SDO reviews and responds to the decision, and such decision is either accepted or referred back to the Secretary for a final determination.
WHAT THIS ALSO MEANS – Is that the December 12, 2016 letter to all institutions is no longer applicable and the 18 month deadline and June 12, 2018 deadline for transition from ACICS to an alternative accrediting agency is no longer in place. Meaning, we assume, that ACICS-accredited institutions that:
- -Retained their accreditation with ACICS, and have completed the process with an alternate accrediting agency are now, in effect, dually accredited;
- -Sought alternative accreditation, without maintaining their ACICS accreditation, have additional time to complete the transition without fear of loss of eligibility based upon the June 12. 2018 deadline no longer in place, if they have not yet received full recognition from the alternate accrediting agency; and
- -Have received full approval from an alternative accrediting agency, without maintaining their ACICS accreditation, are now transitioned over to their newly established agency
CSPEN will continue to provide the community with additional information based upon our conversations with Department officials, Hill Members and staff, and our community, but for now, we wanted to make sure you were aware of this significant event!
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