March 1, 2021
HAPPENING THIS WEEK: ACICS BACK IN THE HOT SEAT — The first meeting of the federal advisory panel on college accreditors of the Biden era kicks off this week. And it will start where the Obama administration left off: with the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, the controversial accreditor of for-profit colleges, in the crosshairs.
— The backstory: The Obama Education Department revoked federal recognition of ACICS in 2016 in one of its most drastic actions to crack down on the for-profit college industry. But the Trump administration reinstated the accreditor, arguing it had been unfairly targeted and had made improvements to how it monitors schools.
— On Thursday, the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity will meet via video conference to debate new recommendations by the Education Department’s career staff to again terminate ACICS’ federal recognition.
— The NACIQI meeting will be unlike any other because the panel will discuss and vote on four separate reviews into ACICS by Education Department staff. All four of the reviews — two of which were ordered by former Secretary Betsy DeVos and two of which department staff began independently — conclude with the recommendation that the Biden administration terminate ACICS. The results of each review, the department staff wrote, provide “a stand-alone basis for termination.”