Nation’s top college accreditor could be shut down
The nation’s largest accreditor of for-profit colleges says it’s taking "very seriously" a recommendation by the U.S. Department of Education that it be shut down.
The recommendation proposed on Wednesday would sever ties with the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. The national group oversees 900 campuses and wields the seal of approval that colleges need to receive federal aid.
The council’s chief, Anthony Bieda, says the recommendation is "disappointing, and must be addressed directly and decisively" by the agency’s senior management and board.
The group has been under intense scrutiny after critics, including attorneys general in 13 states, accused it of overlooking deception at some schools.
Shutting down the council could put dozens of schools at risk of losing federal funding.
The U.S. Department of Education is taking the first step to close the nation’s biggest accreditor of for-profit colleges.
Department staff recommended Wednesday that the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools be terminated.
The council serves as a watchdog for 900 campuses and decides if they can receive federal funding.
But several state attorneys general have accused it of overlooking deception by some schools. The council has accredited some institutions accused of fraud, including the now-defunct Corinthian College chain.
Education officials found problems with the group’s standards during a review.
The recommendation goes to an advisory committee before top department officials make a final decision.
If the council closes, its schools would have 18 months to find new accreditors or lose federal funding. The council did not immediately comment.