ICFE eNEWS #16-26 - August 15th 2016
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Student Debt and False Accreditation

By Paul S. Richard, Executive Director, ICFE

Since 2008, ICFE, both directly and through its StudentDebtHelp.org division, has worked with financial professionals to assist student with education-related debt to assert their rights and assure legal and regulatory compliance by debt collectors.
Recently, it has come to light that the agency responsible for accrediting academic institutions for participating in student loan programs has failed in many cases to carry out its duty to protect students against unscrupulous institutions. In many cases, it appears that the students have enrolled for courses that do not deliver the educational benefits and results they advertise. As a result, such students are now burdened with debt for which they have not received the expected value.
The nation's largest accreditor of for-profit colleges - the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, or ACICS - is at risk of being shut down. An advisory panel voted to recommend the government to cut ties with the accrediting group after discovering major problems in its standards, including the fact that it continued to give accreditation to the Corinthian Colleges chain while it was being investigated for fraud, according to an Associated Press report.

What does ACICS accredit?
The scope of recognition for ACICS accreditation includes, "postsecondary, non-degree-granting institutions and degree-granting institutions in the United States, including those granting associate, baccalaureate and master's degrees, that are predominantly organized to educate students for occupational, trade and technical careers, and including institutions that offer programs via distance education," according to the U.S. Department of Education's website.
Read more here

The Center for American Progress recently released a scathing report of the ACICS, revealing that from 2010 to 2015, there were 90 instances in which ACICS named campuses or institutions to its "honor roll" around the same time they were under federal or state investigation.
A representative report on this problem is posted at the Bankrate web site with the headline "Students face hard choices now that for-profit colleges may lose an accreditor."
Due to this development, ICFE is planning an informal survey of actual cases where students have assumed debt for educational services provided by colleges which have lost their accreditation.
If you are aware of such a case, and can report it back to ICFE, we will compile the results and then decide how best to proceed.
ICFE appreciates active participation by the thousands of professionals who have taken our certification courses, and your continuing interest in assisting consumers in protecting themselves against abusive practices.

ICFE eNEWS is available FREE upon request by visiting the ICFE's Web site and filling out the contact form, selecting "Yes" for "Add to Mailing List." Please pass this eNEWS on to your peers and interested others and invite them to subscribe for free. Also, visit the ICFE's new Web site: StudentDebtHelp.org

Sent by:

Paul S. Richard
President - Executive Director
Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE)

ICFE - Institute of Consumer Financial Education - ICFE.info - 619.239.1401