In December 2016, the Secretary of Education issued a decision adopting the decision of the Department of Education’s Senior Department Official terminating and withdrawing the Department’s recognition of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) as a nationally recognized accrediting agency. Earlier this week, the D.C. federal district court denied ACICS’ motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. The motion sought to stay the decision revoking ACICS’ recognition, restore the status quo and continue ACICS’ recognition status, and enjoin the Department from implementing and enforcing a requirement that, as condition of receiving Title IV assistance, ACICS-accredited schools must take immediate steps to obtain an alternate federally-recognized accreditor.
The denial of the restraining order and preliminary injunction comes on the heels of the oral argument held in the D.C. Circuit earlier this month on the CFPB’s appeal from the D.C. federal district court’s April 2016 ruling that the CFPB exceeded its statutory authority when it issued a CID to ACICS in August 2015. In its injunction motion, ACICS argues that its “operating revenue will be immediately and adversely affected as a result of the Secretary’s decision and the Department’s related directives to ACICS-accredited schools.” ACICS claims that a number of ACICS-accredited schools are refusing to pay outstanding fees, are seeking refunds of fees paid for 2016 and 2017, and/or are planning to allow their ACICS membership to expire and pay no further fees. It also claims that potential revenues from site visits and applications will be cut off and that its “day-to-day operations will be substantially curtailed.”