It is rare that higher education accreditation issues garner national news coverage but in a June 22 letter the Department of Education (DE) terminated its recognition of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) following the bankruptcy of ITT Technical Institute and Corinthian Colleges, two of its accredited institutions. This decision will have far reaching implications for ACICS’ accredited institutions, other regional and institutional accreditors, and perhaps even CAHME programs.
Losing DE recognition means that ACICS’ roughly 245 accredited Colleges and Universities will need to find new institutional accreditors or their students will lose access to Title IV Federal Financial Aid. ACICS is the largest institutional accreditor in the United States and its accredited institutions enroll more than 800,000 students. ACICS’ accredited Colleges and Universities will have 18 months to find new institutional accreditors.
CAHME has never been a recognized institutional accreditor. As a programmatic accreditor, CAHME helps guarantee that students at accredited programs have access to Title IV Federal Student Loans by requiring that programs reside within a College or University recognized by an institutional accreditor like ACICS. Historically, CAHME programs have not relied on ACICS for institutional accreditation. However, CAHME programs may be affected by this decision. Regional accreditors who want to avoid a similar fate will likely begin taking action against Colleges and Universities with poor student outcomes. In the near future well performing CAHME programs may find themselves in Colleges and Universities that lack regional accreditation if the institution as a whole has poor student outcomes.
CAHME will continue to monitor developments and will keep our programs informed.
Eric Brichto, Esq
Director & Counsel, Accreditation Operations