Betsy DeVos Reinstates Controversial Gatekeeper Of "for-profit" colleges

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by Tireman 44444, Nov 21, 2018.

  1. Tireman 44444

    Tireman 44444 Well-Known Member

    Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Wednesday restored federal recognition to a controversial agency that accredits for-profit colleges, reversing an Obama administration decision to put it out of business.

    The move is one in a series of steps DeVos has taken to undo an Obama-era crackdown that she argues unfairly singled out for-profit schools for scrutiny not applied to other colleges. But critics say she is propping up an industry with a track record of misleading students and poor educational outcomes.

    Former Obama administration officials predicted Wednesday that DeVos’s decision will be challenged in court.

    In December 2016, the Obama administration ruled that the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, known as ACICS, should no longer be allowed to serve as a gatekeeper between colleges and billions of dollars in federal financial aid. It concluded that the agency was incapable of rectifying years of lax oversight and “exhibited a profound lack of compliance” with the “most basic” responsibilities of an accreditor.
    Abner likes this.
  2. Abner

    Abner Well-Known Member

    It will be interesting to see the outcome if it goes to court.
  3. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Private accreditors shouldn't be Title IV gatekeepers in the first place.
  4. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member


    They are talking about ACICS. I think that it was pretty clear that Secretary DeVos was going to do this, but I'm very happy to see that it's happened.

    All colleges and universities that receive federal funds or whose students are eligible for federally-sponsored student aid should be required to meet the same standards, regardless of how they are incorporated. In fact, schools that receive direct taxpayer funding (the state schools) probably should receive additional scrutiny. (From the states and not the feds though.)

    If critics attack some of the ACICS schools for running vocational programs with poor rates of placing students in good jobs, similar scrutiny needs to be directed at public institutions with equally poor records. How many humanities bachelors graduates from XYZ state college get professional-level jobs in the humanities? A few eventually go on to earn PhDs, and less than half of the PhDs find suitable employment. So looking at the bachelors programs, the yield is infinitesimal. Attending an ACICS vocational program in a reasonably high-demand subject might make more sense in pure occupational terms, than studying literary criticism at a prestige university.

    But we all know that "misleading students and poor educational outcomes" wasn't really the issue at all. That's all just a rationalization, rhetoric intended to sway the supposedly stupid 'little people' (voters, in other words). The real issue was that "for profit" education seemed to be taking market share, while these schools didn't typically provide professors with the kind of pay, tenure and benefits that they had come to demand. Amazing how bad "educational outcomes" can be allowed to become when the professors are getting whatever they want. (Witness the Sokal hoax, the 'conceptual penis' and similar things.)

    We are apt to see lawsuits going both ways. How many students lost their federal financial aid and dropped out, suffering losses along the way? How many schools went out of business? There might be some big potential class-action lawsuits there, just waiting to be filed. (Provided that they can get around laws immunizing the government from tort lawsuits.) Remember that a federal judge might have already made half their case for them, when he earlier ruled that the previous administration had violated the Higher Education Act and the Department's own implementing regulations, as well as the Administrative Procedures Act when it acted against ACICS.

    See this earlier thread:
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2018
  5. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Humanities majors at prestigious schools actually end up making more money and graduating with less debt.

    I have no direct experience with ACICS. ACCSC is a joke. I couldn't believe all the administrative tasks instructors had to do that had no bearing on educational quality. Considering that ACCSC kept its recognition, ACICS must have been especially awful. ITT Tech was almost a criminal-level scam.

    If your school is truly training students to enter high-demand occupations, then that's even less of an excuse for such poor outcomes.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2018
  6. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member Letter on ACICS.pdf
  7. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    One significant difference now is that ACICS cannot accredit schools with doctoral programs.
  8. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    Sorry to be late on this, just getting caught up with old threads after my extended sabbatical.

    I taught for an ACICS school(s), Corinthian Colleges, and I will say that their standards for faculty training and retention were top notch. Extensive initial training, weekly teleconferences with the faculty supervisor, ongoing refresher training, and a requirement to belong to a professional organization related to your teaching discipline (in my case, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences).

    However, there seemed to be zero oversight as to the screening of potential students. A lot of them couldn’t write above elementary school level, and one student I had in particular was obviously mentally ill, most likely Bipolar Disorder with psychotic features. For an assignment that required 2-3 pages on a CJ topic, she submitted a 30+ page copy & paste job on the history of Buffalo, NY.

    ACICS has (or at least had) the right stuff for hiring & retaining faculty, I hope they learned their lesson and apply the same principles to students going forward.
  9. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

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