Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today joined five other attorneys general in filing a motion to intervene in a federal district court case against the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, an accreditor of for-profit colleges. Following the U.S. Secretary of Education’s decision to terminate ACICS’s recognition as an accreditor in December 2016, the company sued DOE challenging the move.
The States are intervening to protect consumers in their states, who rely on federally recognized accreditors to ensure that colleges offer quality education and protect against abusive practices.
DOE conducted an extensive administrative process and ultimately concluded that ACICS failed to meet the requirements of federal recognition. ACICS has a long track record of failures of oversight. ACICS failed to identify misconduct by a number of schools and failed to take action once the misconduct came to light through investigations by state or federal agencies.
The Office of the Attorney General and other state Attorneys General have investigated and brought lawsuits against a number of schools that are accredited by ACICS.
ACICS accredited certain Career Education Corporation (“CEC”) schools, which settled with the OAG for $10.25 million based on findings that the school fabricated placement rates.
ACICS accredited Corinthian Colleges, a school that was forced to close or sell all of its schools after investigations by more than twenty state and federal law enforcement agencies and lawsuits by multiple federal and state agencies.
ACICS also failed to identify problems at Education Management Company (EDMC), which settled with 39 State Attorneys General, including the OAG, to resolve allegations that the school misled prospective students on program costs, graduate rates, and placement rates. As part of the settlements, EDMC agreed to forgive over $100 million outstanding loan debt.
The other states joining the motion to intervene are: Massachusetts, Illinois, Maine and Maryland, along with the District Of Columbia. A copy of the filing can be found here. A copy of the memorandum in support can be found here.