Project & NSLDN v. Department of Education (ACICS Part II Submission)
The Project on Predatory Student lending and the National Student Legal Defense Network (NSLDN) are challenging the government's refusal to provide documents the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) submitted to the Department of Education. These documents are a part of ACICS's petition to remain a federally recognized accreditor by the Department of Education.
ACICS was the national accreditor of Corinthian Colleges and ITT campuses at the height of their fraudulent and illegal practices. In 2016, only 35 percent of students at ACICS-accredited schools graduated, and less than half of students were able to repay their loan principal three years after graduation. The Department of Education terminated ACICS' recognition as a national accreditor in 2016. ACICS challenged this decision on the basis that the Department did not review its "Part II response," which according to ACICS included adverse action it took against campuses it accredited. In 2018, the Department of Education vacated its decision to terminate, and ACICS' recognition as an accrediting agency was restored.
The Project on Predatory Student Lending and National Student Legal Defense Network each submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Education requesting the Part II response submitted by ACICS.
The Project and NSLDN sue the Department of Education under FOIA for ACICS’s documents.
Department of Education's Answer
The Department of Education responds to the Complaint.