Accreditor of For-Profits Grilled

DC Shuttle …

Accreditor Under Fire. The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), the accreditor for many for-profit institutions, was in front of the U.S. Department of Education last week for review and approval. The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI), which advises the Education Department, is reviewing the performance of ACICS. Last week, NACIQI issued a recommendation that the department not reauthorize ACICS. The department and NACIQI came under fire leading up to the review and faced criticism that the process needed to be more rigorous. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) weighed in with a letter, but she was only part of a chorus of critiques saying that the department needed to use the process to ensure accrediting agencies were doing their due diligence during the accreditation process. Criticism has been harshest regarding ACICS, which accredits about 900 for-profit institutions. Inside higher Ed reported that the discussion will have implications for the broader accreditation and higher education system.

Process for Debt Forgiveness for Defrauded Students. The Education Department announced a proposed rule that would streamline the process by which borrowers defrauded by colleges could get their federal loans forgiven. The rule would allow more students to have their federal loans forgiven if their college, university or postsecondary institution is found to have defrauded them or engaged in misconduct. Another provision in the proposed rule would prohibit schools from requiring students to resolve disputes through mandatory arbitration.

Stakeholder Guide for States.  The Council of Chief State School Officers has released a stakeholder engagement guide to help states get in touch with teachers, parents, superintendents, civil rights advocates, business leaders and others in developing and implementing their plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The guide was developed with help from several groups including: AASA, the School Superintendents Association; the American Federation of Teachers; and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

Changing Teacher Requirements. As part of the ESSA update passed in December, the responsibility for developing teacher requirements was returned to the states. While the federal government in the past set requirements for teachers, it is now up to the states to determine minimum requirements, and changes have begun to be instituted. Utah last week removed the requirement that all high school teachers have a college degree in teaching. The Utah State Board of Education voted to create an alternative pathway to obtaining a teaching license. School districts and charter schools can hire individuals with professional experience in certain content areas like computer science, as long as they have a bachelor’s degree.

State Progress on Standards. The Center on Standards, Alignment, Instruction, and Learning has released a set of maps that break down state progress toward implementing college- and career-ready standards, including the Common Core. The center is funded through a grant from the Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences.

Warning Students of Financial Concern. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called on the Education Department to force financially struggling colleges to warn their students that the insitutions might collapse, the Associated Press reported.

We publish the DC Shuttle each week featuring higher ed news from Washington collected by the New England Council, of which NEBHE is a member. This edition is drawn from the Higher Education Update in the Council’s Weekly Washington Report of June 20, 2016. For more information, please visit:


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