Last week, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), the largest national accrediting organization of degree granting institutions, was voted to be removed of their authority to accredit colleges. Under a law enforcement investigation, ACICS was found to have taken in $5.7 billion in federal funds over the last 3 years. Colleges accredited by ACICS will now have 18 months to find a new accreditor as soon as the Education Department makes the vote official in the coming months. As the accreditor for many of the for-profit schools that have preyed on veterans’ GI Bill benefits and exploited the 90/10 loophole, this move is significant in protecting veterans from predatory practices.
This loophole incentivizes these schools to engage in deceptive recruiting that targets veterans since revenue from veteran educational benefits are not considered federal funds. Many veterans have had their GI Bill benefits wasted as a result of for-profit schools misrepresenting themselves. However, the Education Department is developing standards for student loan forgiveness to assist veterans and service members who were deceived by these schools. IAVA believes that ACICS accredited schools should be held to a high-level of accountability. For more on IAVA’s work to close the 90/10 loophole, please read our recent blog post.