Important Information on the Derecognition of ACICS

Archived Information

Important Information on the Derecognition of ACICS

On March 23, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia remanded to the Secretary the December 12, 2016 decision of then-Secretary John King withdrawing the recognition of ACICS. On April 3, 2018, Secretary DeVos ordered further review of the agency's petition. Below are updated resources related to this ongoing review:


On December 12, 2016, the Secretary upheld the decision of the Senior Department Official (SDO) to cease recognition of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) as an agency that can provide schools with a seal of approval for educational quality, which in turn makes schools eligible to participate in federal student aid programs. The decision was based on a review of ACICS's compliance with federal recognition criteria, and on the agency's lack of effectiveness in applying those criteria. The earlier decision by the SDO to cease ACICS's recognition on September 22 agreed with the recommendations of both the Department's accreditation staff and the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Improvement (NACIQI), an independent, bipartisan advisory body appointed by Congress. The SDO decision was then appealed to the Secretary in October.

The Secretary's decision is considered final and officially starts an 18-month time period for institutions accredited by ACICS to find another accreditor in order to continue participating in federal student aid programs. ACICS may choose to challenge the Secretary's decision in federal district court. However, a court challenge will not affect the timeline for ACICS-accredited institutions unless the court issues a stay on ED's decision or subsequently orders ACICS to be reinstated.

This page will serve as a one stop shop for the public, in particular students, who may want additional information about this decision.

Information for Students

Basic Information on Accreditation Process

Decision on ACICS

Notice of Decision to Impacted Agencies