NewsFlash! ACICS Regains Recognition as Accrediting Agency04 Apr 2018
On April 3, 2018, the U.S. Department of Education announced that the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) is once again deemed a nationally recognized accrediting agency. Moreover, this decision applies retroactively to December 12, 2016, which is when the ACICS was stripped of its status as an accrediting agency.
Background of ACICS
In December 2016, ACICS lost its U.S. Department of Education recognition as a national accrediting agency. In turn, the institutions that had been accredited solely by ACICS, including a number of universities with large foreign national student populations, were no longer considered accredited. Degrees issued after this date were not accredited, and therefore not considered valid for purposes of qualifying for an H1B position or the H1B master’s cap. Further, for F-1 students, regardless of when they graduated, they lost eligibility for STEM OPT extensions because the university must be accredited the time of the application.
Decision Applies Retroactively, Could Benefit Many Foreign National Students
This decision essentially treats ACICS as if it never lost its recognition as a nationally recognized accrediting agency. This means that those who graduated after December 12, 2016 from an ACICS accredited school now hold accredited degrees.
For any foreign national student who graduated from an ACICS accredited school and was then denied an immigration benefit (e.g., H1B) based on having an unaccredited degree, it may now be possible to challenge the denial. This may be a fairly complex process, however, so it is recommended that such students consult with an experienced immigration attorney.
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