(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement on the U.S. Department of Education’s decision to deny the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools’ (ACICS) appeal concerning its loss of recognition.
“I am very pleased by today’s decision by the Department to continue to hold ACICS accountable for neglecting its responsibility to protect students, veterans, and taxpayers in higher education,” Senator Murray said. “For years, ACICS looked the other way when schools were defrauding students and resisted calls for change. The Department has sent a strong statement that we must protect our nation’s students and accreditors must fulfill their responsibilities. Additionally, the Department has taken critically important actions to protect students and safeguard taxpayer dollars during this time of transition. I will continue to call for steps to make sure that students who have been impacted by predatory practices and closed schools in my home state of Washington and across the country receive the relief and support they deserve.”
The ACICS decision follows a series of requests by Senate Democrats, led by Senator Murray, to strengthen college accountability and protect students, veterans, and taxpayers using the Administration’s authority under the Higher Education Act (HEA).
In May, Senator Murray and Senate Democrats sent a letter to ED asking for oversight to ensure college accreditors—like ACICS—are accurately evaluating school performance and sanctioning schools that fail to meet standards. In June, Senator Murray and Senate Democrats sent a letter to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity’s (NACIQI) recommending withdrawing recognition of ACICS, and supporting a similar staff recommendation from ED released on June 15, 2016. Earlier this month, Senator Murray called for steps to protect students and taxpayers in the event that ACICS lost federal recognition.