A college oversight agency that signed off several large for-profit colleges accused of defrauding students, and one seemingly without students or faculty, remains in business despite the federal government’s repeated attempts to limit its power.
The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools was once one of the nation’s largest college accreditors. It approved Corinthian Colleges and ITT Tech, both large for-profit colleges that shut down in the mid-2010s following increased federal scrutiny and fines tied to deceiving students.
And it also approved Reagan National University, an institution that seemed to be a small for-profit college, but a USA TODAY Network investigation revealed had no evident students or faculty. The school withdrew its accreditation days before the investigation ran and someone has since pulled the school’s website down.
The U.S. Department of Education launched an inquiry into the agency in 2020 following that story, and the inquiry played a part in the federal government stripping the agency of its power to accredit schools in June 2021.
But ACICS appealed that decision in July 2021 and, absent action from the Education Department, it remains operational. Within the last year, the accreditor continued the accreditation of several universities through 2023.
Read the full story at USA Today here.