College accreditor of defunct for-profit colleges terminated by federal government

An ABC7 I-Team Report

ByJason Knowles and Ann Pistone WLS logo
Thursday, September 22, 2016

WASHINGTON (WLS) -- The U.S. Department of Education withdrew their recognition of accrediting company Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). The company faced criticism for poor oversight of schools that state and federal agencies have sued for defrauding students with false promises and misleading claims about job placement and graduation rates. ACICS accredits 245 colleges including the now defunct ITT Technical Institute, Westwood and Corinthian Colleges. According to their website, ACICS accredits 20 colleges here in Illinois including Computer Systems Institute, Northwest Suburban College and SAE Institute of Technology.

If a court does not block the governments termination of ACICS, the colleges with nearly 800-thousand enrolled students, would have 18-months to find a new accreditor. Accreditors are paid by colleges to assess their suitability to get taxpayer funds.

"We are confident that if given the opportunity to do so, we will be able to demonstrate major reforms and ongoing progress towards compliance with the department's recognition criteria," said Roger Williams, the accreditor's interim president.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), who called for the U.S. Department of Education to terminate ACICS said today, "ACICS repeatedly showed that it was not a reliable authority on educational quality or worthy of its responsibility as a gatekeeper of taxpayer dollars. I commend the Department of Education for today's decision to terminate ACICS' federal recognition. Let this be a warning to other accreditation agencies that have been complicit in the defrauding of students and the fleecing of taxpayers by major for-profit education companies."