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Attorney General Stein to Secretary DeVos: Reject Accrediting Agency that Approved Failing For-Profit Schools

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(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today opposed the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) application to regain its status as a nationally-recognized accreditor. Attorney General Stein noted ACICS’ “extreme and far-reaching oversight failures” and the serious harm it caused students and taxpayers across the country by enabling fraud and abuse at predatory for-profit schools.

“More than 60 percent of North Carolina’s college graduates have student loan debt – and all of them made significant investments of work and money to earn their degrees,” said Attorney General Stein. “The accreditors charged with ensuring quality in education must be held to the highest standards. Without gatekeepers, students can be exposed to abuse from institutions that offer education of little to no value. We cannot allow that to happen.”

In response to the U.S. Department of Education’s call for written comments, Attorney General Stein joined a coalition of 20 attorneys general in calling for the Department to reject ACICS’s application for initial recognition. In the comments, the attorneys general note that the Department terminated ACICS’s recognition just over a year ago due to ACICS’s pervasive oversight failures, so any attempt by ACICS to become nationally recognized once again “should be treated with great skepticism.” Under the Department’s regulations, the attorneys general assert, ACICS cannot meet the threshold eligibility requirements for receiving national recognition.

The fallout from the failure of Corinthian Colleges – a school ACICS formerly accredited that the US Department of Education found to have perpetuated widespread fraud – exemplifies the lasting damage ACICS’s oversight failures have caused thousands of North Carolina students. Even though the school closed in 2015, the North Carolina Department of Justice and its partners are still working to help students apply for and receive the thousands of dollars in loan forgiveness they deserve.  Attorneys general from California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington joined today’s comments.

Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484


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