You may have heard that on September 22, 2016, the Department of Education (DOE) withdrew recognition for the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) as a national accrediting agency and may be wondering how that affects you, your program, your financial aid and Golf Academy of America.
First, it’s important to know that nothing changes immediately.
ACICS has already filed its intent to appeal. During this process, the current ACICS accreditation will stand.
Currently, ACICS is in the process of filing an appeal to this decision. The appeal process could take several months and during that time, ACICS will remain a recognized accreditor. There is no determined timeline for how long that appeal would take.
There is no immediate impact on students.
It’s also important to know that there is no immediate impact on students in terms of finishing their programs and graduating or of losing their financial aid. The DOE has provided an explanation of accreditation and what changes in accreditation mean to students on its blog, which you can read here.
Accreditation is very important to us.
As always, Golf Academy of America is focused on providing the best career education possible for our students. Accreditation of our college is very important to us. We are closely monitoring the situation and actively considering our best course of action, including seeking accreditation from another recognized accrediting body. We are evaluating all options, and we will move swiftly on any decisions that can impact our students.
The actions impacting ACICS have no reflection of the quality of our education.
Golf Academy of America has long been accredited by ACICS and we are fully focused on meeting or exceeding its accrediting standards. In addition, we work continuously to maintain standards required by state departments of education, the U.S. Department of Education, state boards for professional programs, and professional organizations.
Frequently Asked Questions
About the Process
Why did the DOE choose not to recognize ACICS? What did they do wrong?
ACICS was found to be out of compliance with numerous regulatory criteria and cannot, by law, have its recognition renewed. ACICS is appealing this process and revamping its criteria for accreditation to address these concerns.
How long will the whole process take?
On September 23, ACICS filed its intent to appeal and has 30 days to file the actual appeal. There is no set timeframe for the appeal process.
If ACICS loses its appeal to the Secretary of Education, ACICS member schools would have 18 months to move to a different accrediting body.
What if ACICS is unsuccessful in its appeal?
Even if ACICS is unsuccessful in an appeal and loses its ability to provide accreditation, students who are eligible for financial aid and enrolled in schools accredited by ACICS will continue to have access to federal student aid for up to 18 months while they finish their programs.
For Students and Graduates
Is Golf Academy of America still an accredited college?
Yes. There is no change to our accreditation while ACICS is appealing the DOE’s decision.
What if ACICS loses its appeal and Golf Academy of America cannot get accreditation elsewhere?
In case ACICS loses its appeal, we have already begun exploring our options with other accrediting agencies. Other agencies’ accrediting standards have a lot in common with ACICS standards, which we have consistently met for many years.
We have full confidence that we will be accredited well in advance of the deadline for establishing new accreditation.
I’m a current student. How does this affect my credits?
There is no immediate impact on your credits during the appeals process, which could take several months.
During the 18-month period granted to ACICS schools, we are working with our programmatic accreditors that require institutional accreditation to ensure there is no interruption for our students.
If you are due to complete your program within the next 18 months, then it’s likely this decision will not disrupt your program or access to financial aid for those who qualify.
I’m a graduate. How will this affect my degree? Will it still be valid?
There will be no impact on your degree. You graduated from an accredited college and your degree will remain valid.
Could this affect my financial aid?
There is no immediate risk for you or your financial aid. If ACICS loses its appeal, students will continue to have access to financial aid for 18 months while Golf Academy of America pursues new accreditation.
Is Golf Academy of America going to close like ITT Tech did?
No, we are not in the same situation as ITT Tech. The sudden closure of ITT Tech resulted from a series of failures over a period of time and involved very different circumstances and actions on the part of ACICS and the DOE.