09.22.16

Sen. Murray Praises Decision by Education Dept. to Hold ACICS Accountable for Failing to Protect Students, Veterans, and Taxpayers in Higher Education

Education Dept. will withdraw recognition of ACICS—Murray has been a leading voice in the Senate working to strengthen college accountability

 

Following collapse of Corinthian Colleges, Murray pushed Education Dept. to ensure college accreditors are enforcing rigorous standards: LINK

 

Murray called on NACIQI to terminate ACICS recognition saying it “has failed to identify compliance problems…and enforce its own accreditation standards”: LINK

 

Murray on next steps: “I am going to continue working with the Department and others to make sure everything is being done to help those students who are impacted—especially veterans—in Washington state and across the country”

 

More on veterans and ACICS: On Monday, Congress passed legislation to ensure veterans don’t lose GI benefits, in anticipation of ACICS decision

 

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced its decision to withdraw recognition of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), one of the country’s largest accreditors of for-profit colleges. This 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.

 

“I strongly support today’s decision by the Department to hold college accreditors accountable and ensure they are consistently fulfilling their responsibility to protect students, veterans, and taxpayers,” Senator Murray said. “As the Department itself has acknowledged with their action on ACICS, far too many schools have maintained their institutional accreditation, even while defrauding and misleading students. This will send a strong statement that we must protect our nation’s students who are working hard and investing in themselves with higher education. I am going to continue working with the Department and others to make sure everything is being done to help those students who are impacted—especially veterans—in Washington state and across the country.”

 

Earlier this week, Congress passed the Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2016, which includes a time-sensitive provision that grants the Secretary of the Veterans Administration the authority to continue to provide GI Bill benefits on a short-term basis in the event that a school or program suddenly loses its accreditation, which could occur following today’s decision on ACICS. Because of this provision, veterans who might otherwise lose their tuition and housing benefits can continue their education while their college seeks a new accreditor.

 

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