ACICS Loss of Accreditation Recognition and Alert for Foreign Students Taking ESL or Plans for STEM OPT Based on ACICS Accredited Schools Education
- On Dec. 12, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it no longer recognizes the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) as an accrediting agency.
- During the school certification process, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) only recognizes a school’s accreditation if its accrediting agency is recognized by the Department of Education. As a result, this decision impacts SEVP-certified schools and programs that have ACICS accreditation.
- Nonimmigrant students who must take action are:
1. Those participating in an ESL program accredited by ACICS.
2. Students attending an ACICS-accredited school who wish to participate in STEM OPT in the future.
- All students attending schools accredited by ACICS should communicate with their designated school officials to learn if their school intends to become accredited by another accrediting agency. SEVP is following the Department of Education’s timeline for schools and students affected by ACICS’ loss of recognition as an accreditor. According to this timeline, schools accredited by ACICS have 18 months to find a different accreditor for their programs. SEVP advises schools accredited by ACICS to maintain frequent communication with their students and to share information about their plans so that students are aware and informed of their options.
- Similarly, SEVP will not take immediate action on nonimmigrant students’ Student and Exchange Visitor Information System records during the next 18 months, following the Department of Education’s timeline. If a student’s school does not plan to maintain its SEVP certification, the student must make plans to transfer, within the next 18 months, to another SEVP-certified school or depart the United States.
In addition it is always a good practice for students to ensure their schools plans to maintain its SEVP certification. If the school does not plan to maintain its SEVP certification, students must make plans to transfer, within the next 18 months, to another SEVP-certified school or depart the United States.