Focus on Accreditation:
These are turbulent times in the world of higher education, particularly when it comes to accreditation. For colleges accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), the future of their accreditation with ACICIS is, at best, uncertain since the Department of Education’s decision to cease the accrediting council’s recognition as a national accreditor. Schools have been given an 18 month grace period during which to affiliate with another accrediting agency, and ACICS has filed an appeal with Department in the hopes of reversing that decision; however, ACICS is on record that “the outcome to date has not been encouraging”.
ACICS, founded in 1912, is the largest national accrediting organization. That means some 695 schools will be looking for a new accrediting agency. In October 2016, the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) reported receiving inquiries from over 300 ACICS schools.
Whether your school is part of a publicly traded or privately held corporation or a stand-alone entity, assessing your initial compliance with ACCSC accreditation standards can be time-consuming and challenging. The standards differ, and evaluating how your school will meet the standards of a new accrediting agency requires careful consideration of both how a school operates and how the accreditation standards are interpreted. A June 2016 report by the Center for American Progress (CAP) called for the elimination of ACICS. That report also offered a glimpse into the differences in standards between ACICS and ACCSC—key information for schools seeking to transition to ACCSC accreditation.
Although that report only focused on one small section of the ACCSC standards, schools looking to make the transition will need to compare their current practices with all of the standards of any new accrediting agency to ensure they are meeting what are likely more rigorous standards.
College Matters is here to help. We can direct you to a copy of the comparison from the CAP report. We have also devised a system that will facilitate your internal review of the standards to highlight areas of the standards that differ from the ACICS standards. One of the hallmarks of the services we offer is a Fresh-Eyes Review of self-study reports combined with Mock Site Visits to prepare your team for a successful site visit.