It seemed as though the institute would need a new potential accreditor — a process that can take as long as two years.
But as it turned out, Acics survived. A 2018 federal court ruling allowed the Education Department to reverse its earlier decision. Despite the uncertainty, the institute stuck with the process, was granted accreditation, and qualified for federal financial aid 2018.
Now, Acics is again in peril after a federal advisory panel voted to revoke its recognition last week. And Acics’ remaining few dozen member colleges have to decide whether they will wait to see how this turns out a second time, or undergo the expensive and time-consuming process of seeking a new accrediting agency.
It won’t be easy for some Acics members to find another accreditor, said Tom E. Netting, one of the directors of the Central States Private Education Network. Other accreditors cater to different kinds of colleges and have different standards that might not apply to them, said Netting, whose group advocates on behalf of mostly smaller for-profit colleges. For example, Acics members are primarily career colleges that focus on specific job training, but 10 institutions also offer master’s degrees. Of the other two main accreditors that oversee career colleges, only one is approved to accredit colleges that offer graduate degrees.
Ravish Shah, president of the American Institute of Healthcare & Technology, declined to discuss whether his institution was again looking for a new accreditor. But others are already moving on.